Every tooth houses a central cavity called the root canal. It is filled with blood vessels and nerves that provide the nutrition and sensation to the tooth, respectively. When the root canal gets infected, it can become quite a serious condition leading to decay of tissues, severe pain, release of pus, etc. It puts the tooth at risk of being extracted.
How does a root canal infection occur?
The plaque and tartar accumulation on the teeth are the main causes of a root canal infection. The microbes present in the tartar deposits liberate acids that can cause the decay of the enamel and the gum tissues. When left untreated for long, the cavity could advance to the deeper layers of the tooth and eventually affect the root canal.
Other than plaque and tartar, external damage to the teeth can also expose the pulp of the tooth to the microbes in the mouth. A broken or a chipped tooth can easily give rise to such an infection, which is why they have to be restored at the earliest. Sometimes, periodontal infection (a severe gum disease) can also lead to a root canal infection.
What are the symptoms to look out for?
In many cases, patients fail to identify a root canal infection. It will most likely be mistaken with any other regular oral infection which would just subside and go away on its own. But, that isn’t the case. Here are some of the symptoms that you should look out for and get immediate dental attention:
- The release of pus from the gums
- Severe decay of the tooth
- Pain, swelling, and inflammation near the infected area
- Loosening of the infected tooth from the socket
- Elevated levels of sensitivity to hot and cold foods
- Discoloring of just one tooth which occurs due to the infected pulp
How can a root canal infection be treated?
When all means of restoration and treatment fail, dentists suggest a root canal therapy to save the infected tooth. In fact, it is the last resort method to save a natural tooth that is on the verge of failure. The teeth will be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected. Local anesthesia will be administered to keep away pain and discomfort during the procedure.
An access hole will be made on the tooth to remove the infected pulp. Dental files of varying sizes will be inserted into the hole to scrub out any remaining residue from the walls. A jet of water will ensure all the debris is thoroughly removed. A small amount of medication will be placed in the tooth to avoid reinfection.
Since the nerves and blood vessels are removed from the tooth, it would lack the nutrition to support it. Hence, it could become weak and crumble when excessive stresses are applied to it. We suggest you get a crown to be placed on the tooth to hold it intact and functioning like normal.
Call us at (562) 698-9621 or schedule an online appointment with Dr. Violet to know more about root canal infection.