For ages, root canals have “left a bad taste in peoples mouth”. Okay, so we couldn’t resist the pun, but let’s admit it, almost everyone has at some point cringed at the mention of the words “root canal”. However, thanks to modern technology in the dental field, this procedure is no longer the painful experience that we believe it to be.
Basically, when the pulp of a tooth becomes infected or dies, your dentist will be looking for the best way to save your tooth. And despite its reputation, a root canal can be a comfortable treatment to do just that while maintaining your dental health.
What are the Symptoms of an Infected Tooth?
You may realize that you have an infected tooth when—
- Your tooth has become sensitive to hot or cold foods or drinks.
- You feel pain when eating or putting pressure on your tooth
- You have a throbbing, severe tooth pain
- The area of your mouth around the tooth is swollen
- You notice a bad taste in your mouth
What Causes a Tooth Infection
The pulp of your tooth becomes infected when bacteria invade the inner layers of the tooth. The tooth pulp is a soft tissue made up of nerves and blood vessels. It is contained in the pulp chamber that extends from the middle of the tooth down through the tooth roots.
Infection occurs most commonly through a deep cavity that allows bacteria through the enamel and dentin layers and into the pulp. Sometimes the pulp simply dies due to a fracture or a blow to the tooth.
Root Canal Diagnosis and Treatment
To determine if your tooth has an infected pulp, we do a thorough dental examination. The exam often includes x-rays and sometimes includes checking the health of the pulp with a pulp tester. We may also apply heat or cold, tap lightly on the tooth to see if it is sensitive, look for changes in the tooth’s color, or press gently on the gums next to the tooth to check for pain.
If we determine that you have an infected tooth, we talk with you about root canal therapy to remove the infection and save the tooth. It is important to treat an infected tooth in order to prevent the infection from traveling through the root tips and causing a painful abscess in the jawbone.
We would like to invite you to set up a dentist appointment with our office today to answer any questions that you may have or to help you develop an action plan for your dental care.