When the pulp or nerve of a tooth is damaged, the only alternative to root canal treatment is extraction of the tooth. Signs of damage to the pulp include: pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, discoloration of the tooth,swelling and tenderness.
Depending on the tooth involved, one to four canals in the root of the tooth will need to be treated. Many times the procedure can be completed in one appointment, but if infection is present, a second appointment may be necessary.
When treated promptly at the first onset of symptoms, root canal treatment should not be painful. It is only when a severe infection is allowed to develop that an abcess forms causing significant discomfort.
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