The “root canal” describes the space in the middle of the tooth. It contains the tooth nerve and a soft area called the pulp chamber. A root canal procedure is done to protect a decayed/infected tooth from becoming abscessed and damaging the tissue surrounding it. The treatment involves removing the diseased pulp and, effectively cleaning out the tooth before sealing it back.

Why should tooth nerve and pulp be removed?

When a tooth’s nerve and pulp start to decay, it leads to bacteria accumulation in the pulp chamber. If the bacteria are left to fester, it combines with already-decayed debris in the chamber and causes an abscess. An abscess is a pus-filled cavity that collects at the root of the tooth. Other dangers of leaving decaying teeth unattended  include:

  • Swelling that will over time extend to the neck and the face.
  • Loss of jaw bone.
  • A hole that forms from the side of the tooth to the gums. The hole may also open through the cheek, breaking into the skin.

Is it dangerous to remove them?

Generally, the nerve is only important in the period that the tooth is growing out of the gums. After that, all it does is help the tooth sense if something is cold or hot. Therefore, removing it to stem growing decay is not dangerous to the tooth. As a matter of fact, it does little to impact the tooth’s daily functions.

If you notice a pain in your teeth when they come in contact with food (or anything); or that your teeth are abnormally sensitive to cold/hot objects with pain that remains even after the object has been removed, then you may have an infected tooth. Talk to a dentist immediately and find out what the next step is.