When the internal tissues of a tooth become infected by decay and bacteria, root canal therapy may be required to save the tooth. The tooth may become extremely sensitive to both pressure and temperature and may cause intense pain. An abscess is developing.
When confronted with this type of decay or infection, the patient has two options: extraction of the affected tooth or saving the tooth via root canal therapy. While extracting a decayed or infected tooth may seem to be the least expensive alternative, significant and costly dental problems will arise for adjacent teeth. In the end, tooth extraction may cause more problems than it will solve.
Root canal therapy is a much more desirable alternative, as it will allow continued use of the tooth, and does not involve treatment of the adjacent teeth. Endodontically treated posterior teeth usually require a crown to restore complete functionality.
The reasons a dentist will recommend root canal therapy include the following:
- Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
- Development of infection or abscess inside the tooth or at the root tip.
- Trauma or injury to the tooth resulting in devitalization of the tooth.
- Root canal therapy is needed to restore the tooth because of some special circumstance.