A tooth may become infected when decay begins to affect the pulp, blood vessels or nerves that inhabit the interior of the tooth. If infections aren’t addressed quickly, the tooth may be lost, and the jawbone can start to degrade (atrophy).
An abscess may also develop, which can become life-threatening due to its proximity to the brain. Signs of an infected tooth include:
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Pain, particularly when biting down
- Sensitivity to pressure or temperature
- Redness, swelling and pus along the gumline
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it’s important to make an appointment with your dentist right away. A root canal may be advised, which addresses the infection while also saving your tooth.
To begin a root canal procedure, the dentist will numb your tooth by injecting a local anesthetic into the nearby gum. Next, a tiny hole is created in the side of the affected tooth, which provides access to the interior.
Highly specialized tools will then be used to extract the pulp from inside of the tooth and the canals of the roots, hence the term for the procedure.
After the tooth has been fully cleared out, the inside is sterilized and packed with a medicated filling material. The hole in the tooth will then be filled.
In virtually all cases of a root canal, the tooth will have to be covered with a dental crown. These are special tooth-shaped caps that are designed to look just like a natural tooth.
The dental crown is meant to give the treated tooth additional support while preserving your smile and restoring your ability to eat without discomfort.
Who is a Candidate?
If you’re struggling with advanced tooth decay but don’t currently require tooth removal, you may be a good candidate for a root canal. The dentist will assess the condition of the tooth, and if the exterior is strong enough to support a dental crown, they might suggest a root canal.
Contact Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry today to schedule an appointment. The dentist will provide an evaluation and determine if a root canal will be effective for your needs. We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have. By working together, we will be able to develop a treatment plan right for you.