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The pulp (nerves and blood vessels) inside a tooth may die from decay, trauma or occasionally deep fillings/ restorations. When the pulp of a tooth dies, the middle of the tooth becomes filled with decaying tissue. The decaying pulp will expand, causing a pressure build-up that leads to the throbbing toothache characterising the initial phase of an "abscess".
Before dentists could root fill teeth, the only option for an abscess was to extract the offending tooth. Now we root fill many teeth in dental practice to relieve pain and avoid tooth loss.

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