In cases of bacterial invasion into the nerve of the tooth or constant irritation to the tooth, the nerve of the tooth can get irritated and die. When this occurs, bacteria invade the center of the tooth and produce gases or pus, which results in a dental abscess. This abscess can become painful and cause facial swelling. If left untreated, it can be a very serious medical condition.

Today, root canal therapy is quick and easy to perform. It is much more predictable and can usually be completed in the same visit. It seals the center of the tooth and allows it to function like it did before the nerve died. Teeth which receive root canal therapy become more brittle and need to be crowned to protect it in function. Root canal therapy allows you to keep a tooth which would otherwise need to be removed from your mouth. It is also much less expensive to save the tooth than to replace it with an implant or fixed bridge.

An X-ray of a tooth with a dental abscess. What a root canal therapy looks likes on X-ray. X-ray showing the bone healed following treatment.