The teeth have three distinct layers, namely the enamel, dentin, and central root canal cavity. The root canal cavity houses the dental pulp, which comprises the nerves and blood vessels responsible for sensitivity and nourishment. Although the pulp is protected by the dentin and enamel - the hardest substance in the body, it could sometimes get infected and decayed. Such a condition can be highly painful and may even lead to loss of the tooth. Hence, it is crucial to get the infection diagnosed and treated at the earliest.
What causes a root canal infection?
In most root canal infections, the microbes reach the pulp through a cavity caused by tooth decay. Cavities are caused due to tartar deposited on the teeth surfaces, leading to the erosion of the enamel and decay of the underlying dentin. When the cavity grows deeper, it would eventually reach the pulp and infect it. Some of the other causes of root canal infection are trauma to the teeth that may result in cracks and chipping, gum diseases, and other oral infections.
What are the symptoms of root canal infection?
- The infected tooth would appear dull and discolored due to the decayed pulp within.
- The tooth exhibits severe sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
- The gums surrounding the tooth could bleed and discharge pus.
- Severe bad breath.
- Pain and discomfort while biting or chewing food.
- The underlying jawbone could deteriorate, making the tooth loosen from its socket.
How is a root canal infection treated?
The dentist will conduct a thorough diagnosis before commencing the procedure. A root canal therapy is considered the last resort treatment method to save a severely infected tooth and keep it from getting extracted. X-rays and scans of the teeth will be taken to get a better view of the root canal and the jawbone. Since the procedure is slightly invasive, we will administer local anesthesia to numb the tooth and surrounding tissues.
A hole will be made in the tooth, and dental files of varying sizes are used to extract the infected tissues. Further, the cavity walls will be scrubbed to remove the microbes thoroughly, and a jet of water is used to wash away the removed bacteria and debris. A tooth-colored filling will be used to seal off the hole after placing a small amount of antimicrobial medication in the cavity. After the procedure, the tooth tends to weaken gradually. Hence, it is advisable to restore it using a ceramic crown to keep it from cracking or breaking.
Please schedule an appointment online or call us to have a consultation with our dentist, Dr. Corbo, and we will be happy to assist you further.