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Issue Home April 1, 2009 Site Home

100 Years Ago
From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer
Library Chitchat
Veterans’ Corner
What’s Bugging You?
Food For Thought
Earth Talk
Barnes-Kasson Corner

100 Years Ago

MONTROSE: The will of the late Charles A. Smith, of Hazleton, was probated in Wilkes-Barre and by its terms he left his entire estate, a fortune of $17,000, to his brother William L. Smith, of Montrose. Charles was born here in 1849 and spent his early years in Montrose, being a son of the late William W. Smith, a prominent cabinet maker and undertaker. At the age of 18 he became a telegraph operator for the Lehigh Valley R.R. He located at Hazleton in 1867 and lived there ever since. His wife died several weeks ago. Friends of William Smith are gratified that he is to receive this bequest because he has been handicapped since childhood by imperfect eyesight, amounting almost to blindness.

HALLSTEAD: President Taft nominated James T. DuBois, Hallstead, to be consul general at Singapore, Straits Settlements. Mr. DuBois has had many years experience in foreign consular service, but for the past number of years, since the latter part of McKinley’s administration, he has been editor of laws in the Department of State at Washington. He has served the government at Aix-la-Chapelle and Leipzig, Germany, and in 1883 was sent to Callo, Peru and again in 1897 was sent to St. Gall, Switzerland, as consul general.

SOUTH NEW MILFORD: Now is the time to fill the mud holes in the road and use a little Armstrong work to help the water away from the road. If every farmer would take an interest in better roads and help keep them in good shape, the taxes raised would go farther when expended and there are hundreds of loads of dirt [that] go out of the roads because men won’t spend a few moments with the hoe to turn the water aside.

AUBURN: The third annual commencement exercises of the Auburn High School will be held Friday evening, April 9. Reserved seats are now on sale—25 and 35 cents. The baccalaureate sermon to the Class of ’09 will be delivered in the high school building on Sunday evening, April 4, at 7:30 by Rev. Wm. Shaw.

LITTLE MEADOWS: In the latest mercantile appraisement the following businesses are listed in Little Meadows: A. D. Brown & Co., General Merchandise; William Purtell, Retail; Thomas Fitzmartin, Cigars and Palmer & Son, Mill Feeds.

LYNN: W. P. Sheldon has been investing in a fine new turnout consisting of a splendid bay pacing mare with a record of 2-11, with buggy and harness to match. Turn out boys and give Sheldon the road for he says he’s got to have it.

AINEY: Amanda Strickland’s term of school closed last Thursday. Mildred Lord attended school every day and was not tardy once. Claude Strickland and Mattie Johnson did not miss a day since Christmas. Miss Strickland has been a successful teacher and very thorough in her work.

FOSTER (Hopbottom): The High School commencement exercises will take place on Tuesday evening, April 7, and will be held in the Universalist church. The graduating class consists of seven young ladies. Adams’ orchestra of Factoryville will furnish music for the occasion.

RUSH: The directors of the Rush Creamery Co. have arranged for the patrons to haul the butter to Montrose station. This is not satisfactory to all of them.

FOREST CITY: Forest City has been largely represented in Montrose this week, during the Grand Jury session here, chiefly because of the troubles among the liquor sellers, which trouble has been brewing for a year or two. As near as we can learn the situation, the retailers became of the opinion that the wholesalers were retailing drinks to about everybody who called for them. This cut off the business of the retailers and they made complaint; then complaints were made that some of the retailers were selling illegally, and so it came to pass that pretty nearly all the dealers in Forest City were hauled before the Grand jury for investigation and unless the Grand Jury is exceedingly good to them there will be more heard of the matter in court later on.

FOREST LAKE: While H. B. Stone and son were breaking a colt—having it hitched in with another horse, it became unmanageable and ran away, and the team finally went off one side of the road and down an embankment ten feet among some trees. The horses broke lose from the wagon and ran a little ways when they were stopped by a tree and were unhurt, but Mr. Stone received several cuts and bruises. It was an exciting ride.

HERRICK CENTRE: Commencement exercises, Friday April 2, at 8 p.m. in the M. E. church. The class of ’09 is composed of two members—Floyd R. Avery and Beulah I. Philips, who have adopted as their motto the small but mighty in meaning word—“Excelsior.” Royal purple and milk white are its colors—while the pansy is the class flower.

WATROUS CORNERS, Bridgewater Twp.: A band of gypsies are here camping. They had three handsome house wagons besides four other wagons.

THOMPSON: Thompson is well represented on the grand jury this week, and we are sorry to say before it also.

LENOXVILLE: The buzzing saw in S. B. Hartley’s mill indicates that business is booming.

UNIONDALE: A man from the New York Board of Health was around last week looking after the sanitary conditions of farms from which milk is shipped to New York City. He spoke like one having authority. He said we must give every cow 600 cubic ft. of air space, give the dear old bossy plenty of sunlight and fresh air. Good things for man and beast. He told us we must sweep the cobwebs down; must white-wash our stables; and keep horses and hay away from where cows are kept, etc. Farmers are the most healthy and long-lived people on earth; they drink all the milk that they want from childhood to old age. Twenty five percent of all the children born in New York die before reaching the age of 5 years; a fearful accusation against dear old bossy and the farmer. Farmers believe in good stables and clean milk as much as the New York man, but they fail to see how the milk kills in New York and prolongs life in the open country.

NEWS BRIEF: Every man, who is not capable of self government, should get married.

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From the Desk of the D.A.
By District Attorney Jason J. Legg

Extradition can be a tricky thing. You would think it would be simple thing, but there are snares for the unwary. Given that Susquehanna County borders New York State, we routinely run into extradition issues that involve transporting defendants across the state line. So, what happens when you find out that the defendant you have been looking for is located in a prison in New York State?

The first question is why is the defendant being held in New York State? If the defendant has pending charges in New York State, then there is no way to extradite the person until the New York charges are resolved. If the defendant is serving a New York State sentence with no pending local charges, there is a means to attempt to get a defendant back to Pennsylvania. We would lodge a detainer (warrant) at the correctional facility where the defendant is housed that would prevent the release of the defendant. At that point, the defendant would have two choices: (1) the defendant could request to temporarily return to Pennsylvania to resolve the outstanding issues; or (2) the defendant could ignore the detainer and wait until he was released from his New York State sentence.

Generally speaking, a defendant will seek to be transferred to Pennsylvania to resolve his outstanding issues. There are several reasons for this cooperation. First, the defendant will be looking to run the sentence on the Pennsylvania charges concurrent with the New York State charges so that he can serve both sentences at the same time. If he waited until he completed his New York sentence before returning to Pennsylvania, he would effectively assure himself to a consecutive period of incarceration. The defendant really has nothing to lose (and potentially much to gain) by seeking to be returned to Pennsylvania as soon as possible. A defendant also seeks to resolve an outstanding detainer because it interferes with many of the privileges and programs that are available to a defendant at a state correctional facility.

There is a statute that governs this interstate exchange of sentenced inmates for purposes of resolving outstanding charges. It is called the Interstate Agreement on Detainers. In other words, you cannot simply go get a defendant and bring him back to Pennsylvania – there are very specific rules that apply to such transfers. For instance, the requesting state only has 120 days to resolve the local charges before returning the defendant to the other state. The time begins to run the moment that the defendant steps foot in Pennsylvania – all of the necessary proceedings must be conducted and concluded in that 4 month period – from preliminary hearing through trial and sentencing. This applies to all outstanding charges in the entire state. So, if a defendant is charged in multiple counties in Pennsylvania, the counties must coordinate their activities to make sure that all proceedings are concluded in the same 4 months. This can obviously present substantial difficulties and hurdles.

A prosecutor only gets one bite at the apple. In Alabama v. Bozeman, a local prosecutor brought an out-of-state prisoner to his state for 1 day in order to set everything up for a trial, including doing the arraignment, getting counsel appointed, and scheduling a trial date. The local prosecutor then returned the defendant to the other state pending the trial. When the trial date came, the local prosecutor again brought the defendant back, and the defendant objected and contended that the local prosecutor had violated the Interstate Agreement on Detainers. The United States Supreme Court agreed and dismissed the charges.

If a defendant was incarcerated in Broome County, New York, and I brought him down for a preliminary hearing, and then returned him to New York, I would never be entitled to extradite him again and the criminal charges would be dismissed. While driving from Montrose to Binghamton is simple and short – the transportation of an inmate from Binghamton to Montrose is not a simple thing. Extradition provides hurdles and traps for the unwary – and potentially an undeserved boon to the criminal.

Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801 or at our website or discuss this and all articles at

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The Healthy Geezer
By Fred Cicetti

Q. My father was diagnosed with SVT. Is that bad?

SVT stands for supraventricular tachycardia, an abnormally fast heart rhythm. It is not usually dangerous. SVT is one of many types of arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is a problem with the speed or rhythm of the heartbeat.

Most arrhythmias are harmless. Even serious arrhythmias can be treated successfully. Most people with arrhythmias are able to live healthy lives.

Millions of Americans have arrhythmias. They are very common in older adults. Arrhythmias are more common in people who have a disease or condition that weakens the heart.

Time for some anatomy.

The heart is a fist-size muscle. It has four chambers – two atria on top and two ventricles below. There are four valves that open and shut with every heartbeat to control the circulation of the blood.

The heart has an internal electrical system that controls the speed and rhythm of the heartbeat. With each heartbeat, an electrical signal spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom. As it travels, the electrical signal makes the heart contract and pump blood.

At rest, a healthy adult heart beats 60 to 100 times a minute. So, the heart of a person with a pulse of 80 beats a minute, beats 115,200 times a day.

There are four main arrhythmia categories: premature beats, supraventricular arrhythmias, ventricular arrhythmias, and bradyarrhythmias.

Premature Beats: Premature beats are the most common type of arrhythmia and can occur in the atria or the ventricles. They are usually harmless and need no treatment. A premature heartbeat is actually an extra beat between two normal heartbeats. This arrhythmia is commonly caused by too much caffeine, nicotine, stress, or exercise.

Supraventricular Arrhythmias: Supraventricular arrhythmias are rapid heart rates known as tachycardias. They begin in the atria or between the atria and the ventricles. The types of these arrhythmias are atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, supraventricular tachycardia, and Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.

Atrial Fibrillation – also called AF or Afib – is the most common type of dangerous arrhythmia. It’s a very fast and irregular contraction of the atria.

Because the atria are beating rapidly and irregularly, blood does not flow through them as quickly. This makes the blood more likely to clot. If a clot is pumped out of the heart, it can travel to the brain causing a stroke. Infrequent and brief episodes of atrial fibrillation can be triggered by overindulgence in alcohol, caffeine and food.

Atrial Flutter is a fast and regular rhythm. Atrial flutter is much less common than atrial fibrillation, but has similar symptoms and complications.

Supraventricular Tachycardia, as described earlier, is an abnormally fast heart rhythm. This type of arrhythmia tends to occur in young people. It can happen during vigorous exercise.

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome is a condition in which the heart’s electrical signals travel along an extra pathway from the atria to the ventricles disrupting the heart’s timing. WPW can make the ventricles beat very fast, and can be life-threatening.

Ventricular Arrhythmias: These arrhythmias begin in the ventricles. They include ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. They usually are dangerous and need emergency treatment.

Ventricular Tachycardia is a fast, regular beating of the ventricles. Ventricular tachycardia episodes that last for more than just a few seconds can be dangerous. This condition can evolve into more dangerous arrhythmias.

Ventricular Fibrillation (V-fib) happens when disorganized electrical signals make the ventricles quiver instead of pump normally. If the ventricles don’t pump blood to the body, it will die within minutes. V-fib requires defibrillation, an electric shock to the heart.

Bradyarrhythmias: Bradyarrhythmias are arrhythmias in which the heart rate is slower than normal. If the heart rate is too slow, not enough blood reaches the brain, and insufficient blood can make you pass out. In adults, a heart rate slower than 60 beats per minute is considered a bradyarrhythmia.

Bradyarrhythmias can be caused by heart attack, an underactive thyroid gland, aging, a chemical imbalance, or some medicines.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

Finding the right book or audio is just one of the things that you can do by using Susquehanna County Library’s website, Of course, this website gives you the latest information concerning upcoming Library activities and lists of new items added to the Library’s collections. But it does much more than that. This website is your gateway to a world of information.

Links are the key and, no, we are not referring to a golf course. Under the heading, “Quick Links,” you can find links to various Susquehanna County websites, as well as to the official county website. You can also access the Susquehanna County Historical Society web page, which provides a wealth of information, plus additional links to other historical society websites. Use these to expand your view of available genealogical information.

Under the heading, “Current Interest,” you can find links to useful sites having to do with gas leasing, a very popular subject in our county, and links to federal, Pennsylvania, New York State, and local earned income tax forms. In addition, during the tax season, each of the library branches have many of the federal and Pennsylvania tax forms that used to be available at your local Post Office.

Take some time to navigate our website, and discover what is there. The County Library is here to serve you. By contributing to our 2009 fund drive, you can help us maintain vital library services. Remember, the Susquehanna County Library is your resource for lifetime learning.

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Veterans’ Corner

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What’s Bugging You?
By Stuart W. Slocum

Lyme disease: Tick transmitted hazard

Ticks are of great medical importance because they can transmit over a dozen different diseases to humans and animals. Although ticks are capable of transmitting parasitic worms, viruses, and bacteria, it is their transmission of spirochetes and rickettsias that are of primary concern in Pennsylvania. Spirochetes are coiled, spiral-shaped bacteria that move with a flexing motion. While the majority of spirochetes are free-living, some are pathogenic (disease-causing). Rickettsias, which will be discussed in next week’s column, are very tiny organisms that have characteristics in common with both bacteria and viruses. Rickettsias can only live and multiply within the living cells of their hosts. They often alternate hosts between mammals and arthropods such as fleas, lice and ticks.

Pictured is the Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Its total length is about 20 millionth of a meter.

In the United States, the most prevalent tick-transmitted disease to humans is Lyme disease. Named for the Connecticut town where it was first reported in 1975, Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete. It is transmitted to people by the black-legged (deer) tick Ixodes scapularis. In 1981, Pennsylvania reported 2 cases of Lyme disease. The reported cases peaked at 2,275 cases in 1996 and thereafter have slightly decreased. The Lyme disease-causing bacterium is found in North central and Northeast Pennsylvania, but is more prevalent in the southeast portion of the state.

Lyme disease is nonfatal. However, it evolves through various stages that develop into progressive syndromes mimicking neuromuscular and rheumatoid conditions. An early symptom is the development of a ring-shaped rash around the site of the tick bite. This rash can appear from 3 days to 3 weeks after a bite from an infected tick. Although not always appearing, the raised inflamed area of this “bulls-eye” rash gradually spreads outward, leaving a pale central region. Other early symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, headache, stiff neck, muscle/joint pain and dizziness. If detected at its earliest stages, Lyme disease can be successfully treated with appropriate antibiotics such as tetracycline or amoxicillin. Left undiagnosed or untreated, second stage symptoms are more profound and disabling. These include cardiac arrhythmias, arthritis, fibromyalgia, Bell’s palsy and various nervous system disorders. These later symptoms may not occur for weeks, months or even years after an infected tick bite. Because of the wide range of symptoms and their commonality to other conditions, such as influenza, a positive diagnosis of Lyme disease is difficult. It is even possible to be bit by an infected tick and not contract the disease.

A controversial vaccine for Lyme disease was developed, but has been pulled from the market. It consisted of three shots received over the period of a year. However, immunity was not achieved until after the third shot. It didn’t provide a life-time immunity, and booster shots were required. There is pending litigation against the vaccine’s manufacturer, claiming that the shots caused arthritis and other disease symptoms. Obviously, more time, research and development are necessary to develop and assess the effectiveness and value of a vaccine. A vaccine is available for dogs, but its use is not recommended by U.S. veterinary schools. Actually, the majority of dogs exposed to Lyme disease do not exhibit any of its symptoms.

In Pennsylvania the black-legged tick has a two-year life cycle. As previously discussed, the eggs hatch in the spring, after which the larvae feed on white-footed and deer mice. The following spring, the larvae molt into nymphs. If a larva has fed on an infected mouse, its nymph will retain the spirochetes within its system. Consequently, that nymph can then pass the pathogens along to whatever host on which it feeds. The infected nymph will molt into a disease-carrying adult capable of infecting people. Upon completion of feeding, both the engorged nymph and adult drop off the hosts. It is during this drop-off action that the infected content of the tick’s stomach is forced back into the bloodstream of the unaware host. Scientific research has found that the bacterial cell has to undergo a protein coat transformation in order to become transmittable from the tick to its mammalian host. If this change doesn’t occur, the injected bacteria cannot infect the host. Since ticks are slow feeders, infection can only occur after two or more days of continual attachment and feeding. Consequently, early detection and removal of a tick is effective in preventing an infection.

The white-footed mouse and whitetail deer are the primary hosts for black-legged ticks. When humans and their pets enter and occupy areas that are habitats for these natural hosts, they become surrogate hosts, subject to infection. It is interesting to note that neither the mice nor the deer suffer any ill effects from the spirochete-caused disease. They merely provide the necessary food and transportation to perpetuate the life cycles of both the tick and the pathogen. It has also been noted that birds are sometimes involved in transporting these infected ticks over considerable distances. May, June and July constitute the time of greatest risk of infection by the feeding tick nymphs. Given their extremely small size and voracious appetites, the nymphs create the greatest risk for human infection. The adults, which feed primarily from August through November, are also capable of infecting hosts. However, adults pose a lesser risk because of decreased numbers resulting from nymph mortality. Also, in the adult stage, the males seldom feed. It is important to remember that while black-footed ticks are potential inoculators of Lyme disease, not all ticks are infected. Therefore, the bite of a tick does not necessarily indicate that you will become infected with Lyme disease. Since you cannot tell which ones are pathogen carriers, it is important to take all of the necessary precautions to prevent being bitten.

Next time I will discuss the particulars of other tick-vectored diseases and some precautions against them. Questions, comments and suggestions regarding this article, identifications or any other insect-related matters are welcome. Please email them to

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Food For Thought
By Lauretta L. Clowes DC

No Food For Thought This Week

From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that some baby bottles contain chemicals that can cause health problems for babies? If so, how can I find alternatives that are safer?

Amy Gorman, Berkeley, CA

No links connecting specific human illnesses to chemicals oozing out of baby bottles have been proven definitively. Nonetheless, many parents are heeding the call of scientists to switch to products with less risk. A 2008 report by American and Canadian environmental researchers entitled “Baby’s Toxic Bottle” found that plastic polycarbonate baby bottles leach dangerous levels of Bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic chemical that mimics natural hormones and can send bodily processes into disarray, when heated.

All six of the leading brands of baby bottles tested – Avent, Disney/The First Years, Dr. Brown’s, Evenflo, Gerber and Playtex – leaked what researchers considered dangerous amounts of BPA. The report calls on major retailers selling these bottles – including Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, CVS, Target, Walgreen’s and Wal-Mart – to switch to safer products.

According to the report, BPA is a “developmental, neural and reproductive toxicant that mimics estrogen and can interfere with healthy growth and body function.” Researchers cite numerous animal studies demonstrating that the chemical can damage reproductive, neurological and immune systems during critical stages of development. It has also been linked to breast cancer and to the early onset of puberty.

So what’s a concerned parent to do? Glass bottles are a tried-and-true chemical-free solution, and they are widely available, though very breakable. To the rescue are several companies making BPA-free plastic bottles (out of either PES/polyamide or polypropylene instead of polycarbonate). Some of the leaders are BornFree, thinkbaby, Green to Grow, Nuby, Momo Baby, Mother’s Milkmate and Medela’s. These brands are available at natural food stores, directly from manufacturers, or from online vendors.

Most of the major brands selling BPA-containing bottles are now also offering or planning to offer BPA-free versions of their products. Consumers should read labels and packaging carefully to make sure that any product they are considering buying says unequivocally that it does not contain the chemical.

Unfortunately, switching to a BPA-free bottle is no guarantee the chemical won’t make its way into your baby’s bloodstream anyway. BPA is one of the 50 most-produced chemicals in the world. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), it is used in everything from plastic water jugs labeled #7 to plastic take-out containers, baby bottles and canned food liners. It is so omnipresent that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has found that 95 percent of Americans have the chemical in their urine.

Also, nursing mothers – especially those who haven’t discarded their old BPA-containing Nalgene water bottles – may be passing the chemical along through their breast milk. And if that weren’t enough, BPA is also used in the lining of many metal liquid baby formula cans. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) has posted email links to the consumer affairs offices of the major formula manufacturers so concerned parents can ask them to remove BPA from their product offerings and packaging.

CONTACTS: Baby’s Toxic Bottle Report,; NRDC,; CDC,; EWG,

Dear EarthTalk: How much “old growth” forest is left in the United States and is it all protected from logging at this point?         

John Foye, via e-mail

As crazy as it sounds, no one really knows how much old growth is left in America’s forested regions, mainly because various agencies and scientists have different ideas about how to define the term. Generally speaking, “old growth” refers to forests containing trees often hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years old. But even when there is agreement on a specific definition, differences in the methods used to inventory remaining stands of old growth forest can produce major discrepancies. Or so complains the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry (NCSSF) in its recent report, “Beyond Old Growth: Older Forests in a Changing World.”

In 1991, for example, the U.S. Forest Service and the nonprofit Wilderness Society each released its own inventory of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest and northern California. They both used the Forest Service’s definition based on the number, age and density of large trees per acre, the characteristics of the forest canopy, the number of dead standing trees and fallen logs and other criteria. However, because each agency used different remote sensing techniques to glean data, the Forest Service came up with 4.3 million acres of old-growth and the Wilderness Society found only two million acres.

The NCSSF also studied the data, and they concluded that 3.5 million acres (or six percent) of the region’s 56.8 million acres of forest qualified as old growth – that is, largely trees over 30 inches in diameter with complex forest canopies. By broadening the definition to include older forest with medium-diameter trees and both simple and complex canopies, NCSSF said their figure would go up substantially.

In other parts of the country, less than one percent of Northeast forest is old growth, though mature forests that will become old growth in a few decades are more abundant. The Southeast has even less acreage – a 1993 inventory found about 425 old growth sites across the region, equaling only a half a percent of total forest area. The Southwest has only a few scattered pockets of old-growth (mostly Ponderosa Pine), but for the most part is not known for its age-old trees. Old-growth is even scarcer in the Great Lakes.

It is hard to say whether the remaining pockets of scattered old-growth in areas besides the Pacific Northwest will remain protected, but environmentalists are working hard to save what they can in northern California, Oregon and Washington. The outgoing Bush administration recently announced plans to increase logging across Oregon’s remaining old-growth reserves by some 700 percent, in effect overturning the landmark Northwest Forest Plan of 1994 that set aside most of the region’s remaining old growth as habitat for the endangered spotted owl.

Protecting remaining old-growth is important for many reasons. “These areas provide some of the cleanest drinking water in the world, critical salmon and wildlife habitat, world-class recreational opportunities and critical carbon storage in our fight against global warming,” says Jonathan Jelen of the nonprofit Oregon Wild, adding that as much as 20 percent of the emissions related to global warming can be attributed to deforestation and poor forest management. “A growing body of evidence is showing the critical role that forests – and old-growth forests in particular – can play in mitigating climate change.”

CONTACTS: NCSSF,; Oregon Wild,

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: or e-mail: Read past columns at:

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Barnes-Kasson Corner
By Cara Sepcoski

National Root Canal Awareness Week

March 29 – April 4

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Root Canal Awareness Week, March 29 through April 4.

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or that has become infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. The inside chamber of the tooth is called the root canal. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal. The tooth's nerve is found within the root canal.

When the nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it will break down and bacteria will begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of a tooth. This occurs when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth.

In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head, bone loss around the tip of the root, and drainage problems extending outward from the root.

Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.

The reasons why the nerve of a tooth and its pulp become inflamed and infected are due to deep decay. So in order to prevent a root canal, it is suggested that one prevent deep decay. Repeated dental procedures on a tooth and/or large fillings, following good oral hygiene practices (brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and scheduling regular dental visits) may reduce the need for a root canal procedure. Other recommendations are to avoid trauma from a sports-related injury by wearing a mouth guard.

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