Root canal treatment is designed to eradicate bacteria from the root canal that is infected. The treatment prevents further infections and may be the only way to save the natural tooth if there is deep decay.
The damaged pulp is removed during the root canal process because fully-grown teeth don’t need the pulp to survive. The procedure is then followed by a deep clean of the inside of the tooth. The dentist then disinfects the pulp chamber, then fills and seals it.
Why Do I Need a Root Canal?
The tooth’s structure consists of enamel, cementum, dentin, and pulp tissue. The part of the tooth that is visible to the oral cavity is called the dental crown, and the part below the crown is referred to as the tooth root.
The root canal is the naturally occurring space within the tooth’s root. It comprises the pulp, the main canal, and intricate branches, which are the parts that connect the root canals to each other or the surface of the root. The root canal also contains a dense network of blood vessels that supply nutrients to the tooth.
Root canal treatments are performed on those who have damage to the tooth’s inner layer. The infection is most commonly caused by:
- Chipped or cracked teeth which expose the root to bacteria
- Inner tooth decay
- Tooth trauma
- Repeated dental treatments on the tooth
If a root canal problem is left untreated, the bacterial infection can spread to other areas of the mouth. This increases a patient’s chance of severe dental problems and other medical conditions. An untreated root canal can lead to infections such as a dental abscess, a pus-filled sac that should be addressed immediately because it can cause sepsis.
Symptoms of a Root Canal Infection
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it could mean you require treatment for an infected root canal:
- Tooth discoloration. When a tooth becomes darker, it is usually in relation to an inflamed pulp chamber. The blood vessels on the inside of the tooth rupture, resulting in staining from the blood getting into the dentinal tubules.
- Foul breath. One of the most tell-tale signs of a root canal infection is bad breath. This happens when the bacteria in an infected tooth emits a foul odor. If your tooth’s enamel becomes damaged, bacteria can enter the root canal and cause a rotten-smelling infection.
- Pus, bleeding, or discharge. The bacteria from a root canal infection can also cause a pus-filled sac. These abscesses usually resemble small pimples that are sensitive and swollen and can leak discharge. Bleeding in the gums or the mouth is also a sign of an infected root canal.
- Cracked, broken, or loose teeth. If you have a cracked, broken, or chipped tooth and begin to experience pain, it is likely because bacteria has made its way into the dental pulp causing an infection. Experiencing a loose tooth in this situation is due to the nerves dying in the tooth and deteriorating connective tissue.
- Swollen gums. A root canal infection can cause red, swollen gums and throbbing pain, especially when chewing. If left untreated, the swelling can spread to the face and jaw, accompanied by severe toothache.
Root Canal Treatment
A root canal treatment is a common procedure performed under a local anesthetic, where the tooth and surrounding tissue are numbed. Your dentist creates a small opening in the tooth’s crown during the treatment and removes the infected pulp. Then, the root canals are cleaned and disinfected before being sealed with a natural latex product called gutta percha to prevent bacteria from re-entering.
Your dentist takes dental impressions to send to an off-site lab to create a permanent crown. A temporary filling will be placed until your tooth heals.
You need to return within one month of your first treatment to finish the procedure. The crown is placed to restore functionality to the tooth and preserve its appearance.
Smile With Confidence
If you are experiencing any infected root canal symptoms, book a dental consultation immediately. At TruBlu Dentistry, our skilled dentists can restore your smile and save your oral health.
Call our practice today to speak with one of our dentists so we can provide you with the best treatment that is right for you.