Of all available dental procedures, root canals are often among the least desired and most avoided treatments. However, endodontics are sometimes necessary in order to save an infected tooth from extraction.
How does a Tooth Become Infected?
Infections occur when bacteria enters the inner cavity of the tooth through an exterior crack, chip, or fracture. As bacteria multiply they begin to destroy the tissue within the tooth, known as the dentin, as well as attack the nerve of the tooth. If left untreated the tooth infection can escalate into an abscess, during which the nerve dies and the bacteria spreads to the bone, creating a pocket of dead tissue.
What are the Consequences of an Untreated Infection?
In addition to being incredibly painful, neglecting treatment for a tooth infection or abscess can have serious implications for your overall health. In certain rare cases, the infection that caused the abscess can spread to other parts of the body, putting vital organs at risk of damage.
How Do Root Canals Treat Tooth Infections?
Given the comprehensive nature of the procedure, root canals are the most effective method of treating tooth infections. During the endodontic procedure, a small opening is made in the top of the tooth. Special tools are then used to remove the dead tissue and nerve. The inner cavity and nerve canals are then cleaned, shaped, disinfected, and filled with a sealer material. Patients return at a later date to receive their final restoration.
What Can I Expect During My Root Canal?
If there is one thing that potential endodontic patients should understand, it is that root canal treatment itself is not a particularly uncomfortable procedure. Often, individuals tend to be nervous about the procedure, thinking that it is incredibly unpleasant. In actuality, the side effects of the tooth infection or abscess are often more unpleasant than the procedure. Additionally, patients are fully anesthetized during the root canal treatment, ensuring only minimal discomfort during their procedure.
What Symptoms Should I Look Out For?
In addition to severe toothache, tooth infections can also cause dental sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, sensitivity to the pressure of chewing or biting, fever, facial swelling near the infected tooth, and a bad taste or smell. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you schedule a visit with your dentist immediately.
Endodontics in Pleasant Hill
While routine cleanings and an effective oral hygiene routine can help minimize risk of developing a tooth infection, a root canal may be needed into order to protect the health and function of a patient’s smile. At the family-friendly dental office of Dr. Kevin T. Dowd, our team is dedicated to helping patients improve the health of their smiles. Contact Dr. Dowd today to learn more about root canals in Pleasant Hill.