Your teeth are strong. Proper care with regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings and exams are essential for keeping them that way. If you neglect any part of your oral care routine, your risk of developing cavities increases significantly. Even if you are diligent in your oral hygiene routine, accidents may occur that cause serious damage to your teeth. Both cavities and damage to your teeth are serious issues that can lead to an infection if not treated. In the event of an infection, Trail Ridge Dental in Longmont and Johnstown can help restore the health of the affected tooth with a root canal.
What is a Root Canal?
When you look at your teeth in the mirror, all you see is the hard exterior or the enamel. This is only one layer of your teeth. The teeth are complex. Under the enamel, there is the dentin, which contains hollow canals that lead to the roots of the teeth. There is also the pulp chamber, which houses the pulp. The pulp is soft tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves. The enamel protects the inner layers. When it becomes damaged, however, a direct passage can be opened to the interior of the affected tooth, allowing bacteria to enter. Once inside the tooth, the bacteria multiply and fill up the canals. They irritate the pulp, causing it to become inflamed. This can lead to severe pain.
The Symptoms of Tooth Infection
A toothache is often one of the biggest indicators that something is wrong, and can usually point toward an infection inside the tooth. However, some people do not experience pain when there is an infection present. There are also other symptoms that can point toward an infected tooth and the need for a root canal:
- Loss of bone mass in your jaw.
- Facial swelling near the infected tooth.
- A bad taste in your mouth that just does not go away no matter what you do.
- You experience lingering pain or sensitivity, even after what initially caused the sensation is gone.
- You have a dental abscess, which is usually only detectable by an X-ray. An abscess is a sac that forms to contain the bacteria that spills out of the root of the infected tooth. The longer the infection goes untreated, the abscess can grow larger and may even potentially rupture.
Do I have an Infected Tooth?
If you are experiencing symptoms of an infection, it is important to make an appointment right away. Before undergoing a root canal, we first thoroughly inspect your mouth. We check your teeth for signs of damage and inspect your gums for redness, swelling, and other signs of an infection. X-rays can be taken for a fee. X-rays enable us to see the condition of the teeth under the gum line as well as spot abscesses.
Can I treat a Tooth Infection at Home?
An infection inside the tooth will not clear up on its own. It needs to be treated by a dentist or dental specialty. Moreover, the only way to treat an infected tooth is with a root canal. This is a procedure that involves removing the infected pulp as well as cleaning and disinfecting the interior of the tooth before filling it and placing a dental crown over it. The crown is designed to restore strength to the treated tooth while also protecting it from future bacterial invasion and potential infections.
Root Canals can Treat Infection
If an infection is found, you are then scheduled for a root canal therapy procedure. This procedure is done under a local anesthetic. Sedation can also be used if you are feeling anxious. A small access hole is drilled into the top of the affected tooth. Small tools are used to remove the pulp. The canals are then shaped, which make them easier to clean. The interior of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. It is then filled with a dental material known as gutta-percha, which aids in sealing the canals. Finally, the tooth is prepared for a dental crown, which is cemented over the top of your treated tooth, providing it with the protection and strength it needs
Learn More About Root Canals
A root canal is an effective treatment for removing an infection, effectively restoring the health of the affected tooth and preventing the need for an extraction. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call Trail Ridge Dental today at Longmont (303-772-6960) or Johnstown (970-593-1010).