Root canal treatment
(also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity is allowed, through neglect, to reach all the way to this pulp. (Regular cleanings and checkups can help prevent and detect problems early). On some occasions, deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point that it needs root canal therapy, as well. Once this occurs, the pulp becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated and cannot heal on its own. This can even weaken the entire immune system. This can be dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. In some cases no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup.