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Why would you need a root canal treatment?

By Dr. Guadalupe Tejeda

A root canal treatment is needed for two main reasons.The main reason is because there is an infection. A tooth that is left untreated for long time with a cavity can cause a pulp infection. Tooth decay starts destroying the first layer of the tooth (enamel), secondly the dentin, until it reaches a root canal allowing bacteria to infect the pulp. Antibiotics cannot work inside an infected tooth, it needs to be mechanically removed and cleaned. Inflammation keeps the pulp from healing due to low blood supply.

The second reason for a root canal is damage to the pulp that can´t be fixed. Trauma or a fractured tooth can damage the pulp. Also several fillings that have been placed in the same tooth over a period of time can cause damage to the pulp. When we are preparing a tooth for a dental crown the pulp can get hurt. As a result the tooth might need a root canal.

When pulp is inflamed but not infected, it may heal on its own. If the pulp remains inflamed, it can cause pain and it may lead to infection.

Pulp infections can affect the bone around the tooth and may lead to an abscess. The purpose of a root canal is to save the tooth by removing the infected or damaged pulps and filling the empty root canal with a material called guttapercha.

If a root canal is not done, the infected tooth may have to be extracted and it can cause severe bone damage or the infection can spread to other parts of your body. Keeping your natural teeth helps you to avoid other treatments, such as implants or bridges.


Signs and symptoms:


-          Pain when you bite down on the tooth, touch it or push on it.

-          Sensitivity to heat and cold.

-          The tooth has changed color.

-          There is swelling near the tooth.


If there is an infection of the pulp, you may not feel any pain at first. If an infection is not treated it will cause pain, swelling and an abscess will form.



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