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Garwood Dental Excellence EndodonticsInfected teeth or gums may result in pain and swelling, called a dental abscess. This infection can spread rapidly and should be treated by your dentist as soon as possible. Temporary relief can often be obtained with cold compresses to control the swelling and sometimes antibiotics are prescribed. If the infection is due to a diseased tooth, it can usually be saved with root canal treatment. Nerves, blood and lymph vessels that are in the center of each tooth make up the soft tissue material called the dental pulp. If the pulp becomes diseased, due to injury from a deep cavity, a blow to the tooth, periodontal disease or other cause, it may result in an infection which can spread through the end of the root into the supporting bone and cause an abscess. A root canal is a process in which the necrotic nerve is removed and replaced by a material that seals the root, thus allowing the tooth to be retained. Root canal treatment is preferable to extraction, and it is often less costly, considering the loss of a tooth requires replacement, in order to maintain space and function.