A root canal is an endodontic treatment used to restore the health of an infected tooth. When you suffer from dental trauma or extensive tooth decay, if the inside layer of the tooth (the dental pulp) becomes inflamed, this can lead to infection.
A tooth infection is very serious because it can spread to other teeth, result in the loss of a tooth, and if left untreated, can spread through your bloodstream and lead to life-threatening illnesses like sepsis. Read on to find out how root canal treatment can help.
What Is A Root Canal?
A root canal treats a tooth infection to save the tooth from extraction. Since tooth infections can’t simply be cured with antibiotics, we need to remove the source of the infection, which is the inflamed pulp on the inside of the tooth.
After drilling into the tooth, we can scrape out the infected pulp, thoroughly clean the tooth’s canals, and fill the tooth with a material called gutta-percha. If it’s a molar, then the tooth should be protected with a dental crown.
Signs You Need A Root Canal
- Severe Tooth Pain - Experiencing a persistent throbbing pain in your tooth or pain that comes and goes when you chew can be a sign of a tooth infection.
Tooth infections can be very painful because the infected pulp becomes inflamed and the pulp of a tooth is connected to nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels which are responsible for sensation.
While pain can be a sign of multiple things, it’s never a sign of a healthy tooth. Keep in mind that if your tooth’s nerves have already died, you may not feel pain, but this doesn’t mean you no longer have an infection.
- Tooth Sensitivity - Another one of the major symptoms of infection is feeling hypersensitivity in response to consuming hot and cold foods or drinks. While some people just have sensitive teeth, this type of sensitivity tends to linger for a long time, much longer than it would to finish your meal.
- Swelling - Swelling is never a good sign because it’s an indication of inflammation. When you have a tooth infection, you can expect to have swollen gums around the infected tooth but you may also have swelling in your face and neck.
- Discoloration - A tooth that has suddenly turned much darker in color with no explanation is an indication that there’s something wrong with the nerves of the tooth. When a tooth is infected, this can cut off the blood supply to the tooth, causing it to die and turn a dark color.
- Abscess - If you see a pimple on your gums near the affected tooth, this is an abscess and it’s a clear sign of infection. The lesion is filled with pus and it also may contribute to bad breath. When your body forms an abscess, that’s its way of trying to heal from an infection. The second you see an abscess in your mouth, you should book an emergency appointment.
- Damaged or Loose Tooth - Tooth infections aren’t always caused by untreated decay. They can also be caused by dental trauma or damage to the tooth that leaves a nerve exposed to bacteria.
Even if the nerve isn’t exposed, it can still cause internal damage to the tooth’s pulp and cause infection. If you suffered from a severe dental injury or your tooth has been damaged, you should go to the dentist to ensure the damage hasn’t reached the center of your tooth.
If your tooth feels loose, this can also be a sign of infection. If the nerves in your teeth have died, this can lead to underlying bone damage, which loosens the tooth. If left untreated, you can lose the tooth.
Think You Need a Root Canal? Schedule An Emergency Appointment Today!
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, there is a good chance that you have a tooth infection and need to get treated immediately.
Because a tooth infection requires urgent treatment to avoid complications, worsening symptoms, and the spread of the infection, it’s considered a dental emergency. Contact us at SOLA Dental to schedule an emergency appointment with Dr. Jacob Deniakos today.