You do your very best to take care of your teeth. However, sometimes, things like cavities or tooth damage (such as chips or cracks) can occur. When these issues extend past the enamel into the dentin layer of your tooth, it can allow bacteria in, causing a serious, and often painful, infection of the pulp within. Infections inside the tooth do not go away on their own. Instead, when they continue to grow worse the longer they go untreated. Infections inside the tooth can even lead to bacteria in the bloodstream, which can lead to health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. At Noreen Goldwire DDS, we can restore the health of infected teeth with root canals.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal, or endodontic treatment, is a treatment designed to remove the infected pulp (which contains blood vessels and nerves), as well as the bacteria from the inside of the affected tooth, effectively eliminating the infection. The interior of the tooth is disinfected, and a crown is placed over it.
Signs of an infection
There are multiple signs and symptoms that can point to an infection inside your tooth:
- Severe pain in your tooth.
- Facial swelling near the infected tooth.
- Pain that is triggered by eating yet lingers long after you are done.
- Lingering sensitivity.
- Bone loss in your jaw.
- Dental abscesses. A dental abscess occurs when the infection spills out of the root of your tooth into the jawbone. It is a sac that forms in an attempt to contain the bacteria and prevent their spread. The longer the infection goes untreated, the larger the abscess grows. There is also a possibility that the abscess could rupture, which then allows the bacteria to spread into the bloodstream.
How an Infection is Diagnosed
If you notice any symptoms of an infection, it is essential that you seek treatment right away. An exam is required for accurate diagnosis, and to recommend the best treatment. We begin by examining the inside of your mouth, checking for damage to your teeth as well as signs of an infection (red, swollen gum tissue). Along with this exam, we will also take X-rays, which will allow us to see exactly what’s happening below your gum line. We can take note of any damage, as well as abscesses (if there are any). Once we have made a definitive diagnosis, we can then develop a treatment plan that will provide you with the best results.
Treating an Infection with a Root Canal
Root canals are done under a local anesthetic. We begin by drilling a small hole into the top of the affected tooth. Small, specialized tools are used to remove the infected pulp, while other tools are used to shape the canals. The inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected. We place a special material inside the space, filling it. Finally, a dental crown is placed on the surface of the tooth, providing it with both strength and protection.
Don’t ignore tooth pain. If you have a severe toothache or notice any other signs of an infection, call Noreen Goldwire DDS at (425) 230-4510 to schedule your appointment today.