If the tooth is dead, why do I need a root canal?

Numerous and various strains of bacteria live within the oral cavity. When a tooth breaks and/or if decay exposes the nerve tissue, this tissue becomes infected immediately which will lead to necrosis or death of the heartbeat of the tooth.

Root canal treatment must be performed to retain the tooth.

If the tooth is dead, why does it hurt?

Every tooth exists in a living system. When bacteria invade, destroy and "eat up" the nerve tissue—the heartbeat; the organic food of the tooth—they cause death and leave their by-products behind. These by-products exit the tooth and infiltrate out into the surrounding tooth socket and are extremely inflammatory. This inflammation gives rise to discomfort.

If I just had root canal treatment and the nerve is gone, why does the tooth still hurt?

If root canal treatment is not performed properly then dead and diseased nerve tissue still remains within the tooth. Bacterial by-products still remain which will lead to persistent inflammation and chronic discomfort.

  1. Some teeth have extra canals and/or roots which are not found and cleaned properly.
  2. There can be a crack or fracture which was not detected within which bacteria will live.
  3. The tooth´s roots were not cleaned and filled to their ends.
  4. Improper infection control during root canal treatment as the rubber dam WAS NOT used during treatment.
  5. After root canal treatment the tooth was not restored with a permanent restoration.

I had a root canal and the tooth was pulled, why should I do another one?

At all costs it is always the best treatment option to attempt to retain the natural tooth. Every tooth in the mouth acts and reacts differently from one another.

Several reasons for a root canal treated tooth to be extracted:

  1. A root canal treated tooth can still develop extensive decay without any discomfort and become non-restorable and will lead to extraction.
  2. If the root canal treated tooth is not restored it can or will develop a fracture which leads to extraction.
  3. Root canal surgery performed for an improperly root canal treated tooth will fail and lead to extraction.

Always do your homework and ask questions to find a highly skilled and board certified endodontist before considering extraction.

Robert B. Light, DMD

Board Certified

Shedding "LIGHT"

on Root Canal

for over 25 years