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Root canal treatment may be necessary when the tissue within the tooth becomes infected or necrotic. This can be caused by extensive decay, trauma to the tooth, deep fillings, tooth fractures, or periodontal disease. Inside a healthy tooth is soft tissue called pulp. If the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, it requires endodontic treatment to maintain the tooth. Without this procedure, the patient will experience further tooth pain and an abscess. An abscess effects the jaw bones and can become a dental emergency.
The pulp is made of nerves and blood vessels. When it becomes inflamed, these nerves become irritated which cause an increase in pressure and a throbbing pain. If the pain does not go away in a timely manner, the pulp may be irreversibly damaged.
Once an abscess forms, bacteria located there must survive. While the bacteria does not have constant access to oxygen, it is capable of living off of sulfur, which causes a bitter taste in your mouth.
The bacteria that forms in an abscess can transfer to the surrounding gums or bone which causes them to swell.
An infected tooth can cause the appearance of cracks in the tooth’s enamel or tubes from the layer below the enamel. The material that lays beneath the enamel is sensitive to temperature changes; therefore, when cold or hot food and beverages come into contact with the tooth, you feel pain.
When a tooth becomes a different color, it is indicative that the pulp has degenerated. This is often seen when teeth are traumatized and may happen long after the initial trauma.