Root canal treatment is used to resolve pathologic conditions inside a tooth that have affected both its nerve tissue, and probably the tissues that surround the tooth too. It sets the stage so healing can take place. Endodontic therapy provides for a third outcome, one where the infection is not just cordoned off but actually cleared up. Root canal treatment assists your body's infection-fighting process by removing or sealing off the bacteria and tissue irritants inside your tooth that it can't effectively reach and deal with.
To understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development.
Much of Price's research is contained in two monumental volumes entitled Dental Infections Oral & Systemic and Dental Infections and the Degenerative Diseases. While these works have long been in the PPNF library, it was only just four years ago that the Foundation became aware of their importance. These volumes have moldered in obscurity because Dr. Price's research was suppressed and buried over 70 years ago by the autocratic action of a minority group of dentists and physicians who refused to accept the focal infection theory.
Not treating a diseased or injured nerve will cause the infection to spread as your tooth can not heal on its own. Pus develops at the root tip in the jawbone when not treated and forms a "pus-pocket" called an abscess. An abscess can cause damage to the bone around the teeth. The bone surrounding your tooth will breakdown and your tooth may loosen until it falls out. Pain typically increases.
A tooth in need of root canal therapy should be addressed immediately. Any delay is likely to cause abscess at the root of the tooth that will breakdown the bone tissue. It will be virtually impossible to save the tooth at this point and may result in the tooth falling out. The infection is also likely to spread to adjoining teeth which may lead to a swollen face and neck, blood poisoning, and fever.
Generally, endodontic treatment and restoration of the natural tooth are less expensive than the alternative of having the tooth extracted. An extracted tooth must be replaced with a bridge or implant to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These procedures tend to cost more than endodontic treatment and appropriate restoration. With root canal treatment you save your natural teeth and money.