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Root canal therapy (also known as dental endodontics) removes blood vessels and nerves from a tooth which may be infected and/or damaged. It may also be required to remove a "live" nerve from a tooth (sometimes known as "elective" root canal therapy). A root canal infection can be caused by several things including decay, injury and possibly also gum disease. Root canal treatment or therapy may be the only way to repair your tooth if it has been badly damaged by infection.
Your teeth have a core of blood vessels and nerves at their centre. This living tissue is called the pulp and is in a space called the root canal. The number of root canals in each tooth varies depending on how far back it is in your mouth. Front teeth often have one root canal, while back teeth may have three or more.
If your tooth is injured or has deep decay, the pulp can be damaged and the blood vessels may die.
A "dead" tooth is likely to get infected. Without treatment, a dental abscess (collection of pus) can form as the bacteria multiply and are forced beyond the end of the root. As the collection of pus is trying to expand within the bone, the tooth may rise slightly out of its socket and feel tender when you bite down.
If left untreated, the infection may spread to the nerves and surrounding tissues and cause nausea, fever and difficulty swallowing.
Dr. Lu will usually recommend root canal therapy to:
We look forward to having the opportunity to serve your dental needs. For additional questions about what root canal treatment can do for you, please refer to our Learning Center section of our web site, or for appointment requests or additional enquiries please call 703.955.3960 or send us an email.