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If you experience pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discolouration of the tooth, swelling, tenderness of gums or a bad taste in the mouth, the nerve in your tooth may be inflamed or infected. If left untreated, this can lead to the loss of the tooth.


A cavity in the tooth leaves an opening where bacteria can enter and multiply. Left without treatment, these bacteria cause infections and form pockets or abscesses filled with pus up at the roots of the tooth. This causes severe pain and swelling that could spread to other areas of the face or head. Serious infections bring about bone loss around the tip of the tooth's roots.

Teeth can become damaged and infected due to severe decay, repeated dental procedures, cracks in the tooth or trauma to the face. Constant pain, swelling and tenderness of the gums, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold and discoloration of the tooth are signs that one may need a root canal. A visit to the dentist will best determine the ways to deal with each particular case.