When a dentist talks about your tooth, he isn't just referring to the hard white bony bits in your mouth. A tooth also comprises of nerves, blood vessels which make up the tooth's pulp. When the pulp and the tissue surrounding the root of the tooth get diseased or injured, you need endodontic therapy to save the tooth. Most people refer to the treatment as a 'root canal treatment' or endodontic therapy'.
Your tooth might need an endodontic treatment if:
When do you need a root canal treatment???
Root canal treatment is needed for two main reasons.
The first is infection. An untreated cavity is the most common cause of pulp infection. The decay erodes the enamel and dentin of the tooth until it reaches pulp and/or root canal. This allows bacteria to infect the pulp. The inflammation caused by the infection reduces the blood supply to the tooth and keeps it from healing.
The second reason for a root canal treatment is damage to the pulp that can't be fixed. Trauma or a fractured tooth can damage the pulp. In certain cases, when the pulp is inflamed but not infected, it may heal on its own. Your dentist may want to see if this will happen before endodontic treatment. However, if the pulp remains inflamed, it can be painful and may lead to infection.
Why not just remove the broken tooth??
There are several downsides to losing a natural tooth. If a tooth is missing, the neighbouring teeth can drift out of line. They can also be overstressed from chewing. Saving your natural teeth helps you to avoid other treatments, such as implants or bridges. Once you ignore an infected or injured tooth, you risk spreading the infection to other parts of your body.