Root Canal Therapy
Your teeth have many important responsibilities. They are the strongest substance in your body and can withstand a substantial amount of daily use. Even so, the teeth can still be affected by physical damage or decay that can compromise their strength and leave them vulnerable to infections. When an infection develops, treatment is needed right away. Sylvan Heights Dental can help to restore your oral health with root canal therapy.
How Do I Get a Tooth Infection?
The teeth consist of several layers. You only see the enamel. This is the outermost layer. It is the hardest substance in your body. Below the enamel is the dentin layer, which contains hollow channels that lead to the roots of the teeth. This layer is also quite hard, though not as hard as your enamel. Below the enamel is a hollow chamber. This chamber contains soft tissue called pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels as well as nerves, which allow you to sense temperature.
While the enamel is incredibly hard, it can still be faced with physical damage or decay that can compromise it and leave it vulnerable to infection. But how does an infection develop? If the damage or decay is deep enough, it can travel past the enamel and into the inner layers of your teeth. This leaves an open path for bacteria to get inside.
Once inside the tooth, the bacteria begin to multiply and begin attacking the pulp. This causes the pulp to become irritated and inflamed, which can cause significant pain. The longer the infection goes untreated, the more dangerous it can become. Bacteria can begin spilling out through the root of the tooth, leading to the formation of an abscess. Abscesses form to contain bacteria but can grow larger without treatment. They can even rupture, which can then allow bacteria into your bloodstream.
What are the Symptoms of a Tooth Infection?
There are many symptoms that are associated with a tooth infection. Common symptoms include:
Diagnosing an Infection
When you notice symptoms of a tooth infection, it is important that you schedule an appointment right away. When you come in for your appointment, we will perform a thorough examination of your mouth. We look over your teeth, checking for signs of decay and physical damage. We assess your gums for redness and swelling. We also take digital X-rays. These images allow us to see decay between your teeth as well as any issues below your gums such as root fractures, bone loss, and abscesses. Once we have determined that your tooth be infected, we can then formulate a treatment plan to help restore your oral health.
Treating an Infected Tooth with Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is performed under a local anesthetic. Sedation may also be provided if you are feeling anxious. We begin by drilling a small access hole in the top of the tooth. Next, small tools are used to remove the infected pulp and the nerve of the tooth. We then shape the canals and disinfect the interior of the tooth. A material called gutta percha is placed into the empty space. This material helps to seal the canals, preventing new bacterial invasion. Finally, your tooth is provided with a crown, which helps to further prevent new infections while also restoring strength. In most cases, teeth treated with a root canal can go on to function properly for the remainder of your lifetime.
Root canal therapy can eliminate an infection inside of your tooth, restoring your oral health and improving your quality of life. If you suspect an infection in your tooth, call Sylvan Heights Dental today at (503) 388-5882 to schedule your appointment.