Any time the pulp (nerve area) of the tooth is infected or necrotic (dead) for some reason we will recommend doing a root canal (endodontic) therapy.  The reason for this is that have an infected or necrotic pulp will lead to infection forming out the end of the root and eventually an abscess in the bone and surrounding tissue (swollen infection).  By doing the root canal treatment we remove all the infected tissue and stabilize the tooth with a canal filling material.  The most common reason for a tooth to become infected and then eventually necrotic is due to tooth decay.

Here are some of the scenarios where we may recommend a root canal:

  • A large amount of decay has gone into the pulp
    • Sometimes this is very painful
    • Sometimes it’s not painful at all
  • A large amount of decay was present next to the pulp and the pulp has become irritated and painful
    • Sometimes where there is a large amount of decay next to or in the pulp your tooth is not aware of it until we get in there and remove it. Then in the following weeks it can become painful and need root canal therapy
    • If some cases a tooth that has a history of having a lot of decay, for example had decay removed and a crown put on years previous will suddenly die, develop and abscess, and need root canal therapy.
  • There is some trauma to the tooth
    • Sometimes if you’re hit on the tooth hard (like a car accident or sports injury) the tooth will die, and then need root canal therapy.
    • Sometimes teeth will die some years after the trauma, you may have fallen on your face as a kid and then 20 years later find out that the tooth has died.



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