If a tooth is repeatedly traumatized, or gets infected too deeply by bacteria, the nerve tissue and blood supply start to die off within the tooth. When this happens the infected and dying tissue can cause significant pain and an abscess (body can not fix the dying tissue inside the tooth, so tries to reject the tooth). To correct this, either an extraction or a root canal treatment is performed. This treatment involves removal of the dead and infected tissue and sealing of this space, usually with a rubber material and special cement or sealer. Although root canal treatments are rather successful, like all things, there is a failure rate. The anatomy of teeth is so complex that in some cases diseased tissue is missed either due to difficulty in finding it, or its inaccessibility, despite the skill of the dentist. When these treatments do fail, re-treatment can often be done to find what was missed, or even surgical treatment done to seal the root tips. And in other cases, the tooth is just extracted. To minimize the risk of a failed root canal treatment, treatment should be performed prior to the formation of any abscess. Once an abscess is present, the environment around the root tip is a lot more complex and less predictable for complete healing.
For many the thought of a root canal brings about images of intense pain. Fortunately, this is not always the case. The sooner a tooth is treated, the more comfortable it is, and more successful. Once an abscess sets in, it can be harder to freeze the area and maintain comfort during the procedure. In general, most root canal treatments performed at My Family Dentist have a similar comfort level to that of having a filling done. And in cases where the tooth was dying and causing a lot of pain, root canal treatment can bring about very quick relief.