Root Canal Therapy - Why Do I Need It?


Root canal therapy treats the inside pulp of the tooth. Why root canal therapy is suggested is because the inside of the tooth has become infected and root canal therapy can preserve the tooth. 

The pulp of the tooth usually becomes infected because an untreated cavity has allowed bacteria to enter the center of the tooth or because of trauma to the tooth. Your dentist will review your symptoms which may include:

  • Severe toothache

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold

  • Swelling

  • Tenderness

  • Abscess

Once the pulp of the tooth is infected it is imperative that treatment begin as soon as possible. Not only will treatment alleviate the discomfort, but it will avoid the danger of the infection spreading throughout the body. Yes, untreated tooth infections can actually become deadly.


The actual root canal therapy may take several visits to clean out the infected center of the tooth, and then clean and seal the tooth to prevent further damage. Because a tooth that has had root canal therapy is weaker than a healthy tooth a dental crown is typically placed at the end of treatment.

There are many old horror stories about root canal treatment but most of these stem from the severe toothache that prompts the visit to the dentist, not from the procedure itself. Local anesthesia ensures that you will remain comfortable throughout the procedure.

Is There An Alternative Treatment?

The alternative to root canal therapy is to remove the infected tooth and replace it with a dental implant. Dental implants are placed in the jaw and serve as an artificial tooth “root”. A special implant crown is placed over the implant and the resulting restoration looks, feels and functions just like a natural tooth. Talk to your dentist about your treatment options for your infected tooth.

Wilbanks Team