Root canal treatment is one of the most frequently performed dental procedures that can save inflamed, dead, or infected teeth. The procedure involves treating the affected tooth’s pulp, which is composed of blood vessels, nerves along with connective tissue. A hollow region in the tooth’s center or the pulp chamber containing the pulp continues down canals extending through the roots and into the adjacent bone. It is important to note that all roots don’t necessarily have only one root canal and some may have more than one.
When patients are recommended to have root canal treatment, they are often told that the pulp or nerve of the tooth has been damaged. But, many patients are curious to know about the actual cause of root canal treatment. To learn why and when root canal treatment is needed, let’s discuss some of the most common reasons behind the need of root canal treatment.
The most common sign indicating the need of root canal is “tooth pain”. Although not all types of tooth pain signal the need of root canal treatment, dental examination can reveal if the pain is associated with damage to the tooth pulp or nerve.
In case, the affected tooth is alive, it will develop extreme sensitivity to hot or cold stimuli. The patient may experience tooth pain even in the middle of the night or sometimes when the tooth is not being used. On the contrary, a dead or abscessed tooth hurts when used for chewing or exposed to pressure.
An abscessed tooth also needs root canal treatment. Dead tooth pulp and formation of pus pocket around the root’s end are two factors that cause a tooth to become abscessed. In some cases, an abscess even forms a bump, which appears like a pimple on the gums’ outer surface.
If left untreated, tooth abscess continues growing and eventually leads to infection in the bone that surrounds the tooth’s root. It can even spread further into surrounding tissue and bone. Despite the fact that antibiotics can greatly help in preventing the spread of infection, the best strategy for completely eliminating the infection is opting for root canal treatment.
While tooth cavity is typically seen as a common tooth problem, if allowed to extend deeper, the cavity can reach the tooth and eventually get to the pulp, which can cause pulp infection. This is when root canal treatment is strongly needed for treating the affected nerve and eliminating tooth decay.