Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp (soft tissue inside your teeth containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue) becomes inflamed or diseased. During root canal treatment, your dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in treating the insides of teeth) removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed. If the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result, and your tooth may have to be removed.
Causes of an infected pulp could include:
- A deep cavity (even after the decay is removed and a filling placed, the pulp may necrose and become infected)
- Repeated dental procedures
- A cracked or broken tooth
- Injury to the tooth (even if there’s not a visible crack or chip)
- Abscess (toothache)
If you continue to care for your teeth and gums your restored tooth could last a lifetime. However, regular checkups are necessary; a tooth without its nerve can still develop cavities or gum disease. Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile.
An abscessed tooth is an infection caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease or a cracked tooth. These problems can let bacteria enter the pulp (the soft tissue of a tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue) and can lead to pulp death. When pus builds up at the root tip in the jaw bone, it forms a pus-pocket called an abscess. If the abscess is not treated, it can lead to a serious infection in the jaw bone, teeth and surrounding tissues.
Symptoms of an abscess include:
- Redness in the gums
- Bad taste in the mouth
An abscessed tooth can be treated with various treatments, depending on the severity of the infection. Here are some of the treatment methods a dentist may consider:
- Antibiotics, to destroy the bacteria causing the infection
- Drainage of the infection
- Cleaning the space between the tooth and the gum if the cause is from gum disease
- Root canal treatment if the abscess is caused by decay or a cracked tooth