Root Canal Therapy
An infection inside one of your teeth is not just painful; it is also dangerous. Untreated infections can spread from the inside of your tooth into the jawbone and into the bloodstream, which can lead to serious health issues. At Dentistry with Smiles, we can remove the infection, protecting both your oral and your overall health, with a root canal.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure that is meant to restore the health of your mouth, avoiding the need for extracting an infected tooth. With a root canal, the pulp of your tooth (which contains nerves and blood vessels) is removed, along with the bacteria that are hiding inside of the tooth’s canals. At the end of your procedure, the tooth is provided with a crown, which helps to provide it strength while protecting it from new infections.
A root canal becomes necessary after bacteria have managed to find their way inside the structure of your tooth. This can happen in a variety of different ways, including cracks, chips, tooth decay, or gum disease. Once inside, the bacteria begin to attack the pulp of the tooth and take up residence inside the hollow canals that lead down to the root. They multiply quickly, filling the tooth and irritating the pulp, which can lead to serious pain and put your health at risk. The only way to remove the infection is with a root canal.
Signs of an Infection in Your Tooth
There are several signs and symptoms that could point toward an infection inside the tooth, and therefore a need for a root canal:
Diagnosing and Treating the Infection
To diagnose, and treat, an infection in your tooth, we need to perform a thorough oral exam. We visually inspect the inside of your mouth, checking for damage to your teeth, as well as swelling in the gums. We will also take X-rays, which will allow us to see the parts of your teeth hidden below the gum line as well as your jawbone. X-rays also allow us to detect abscesses.
Before we begin your root canal, we first administer a local anesthetic near the affected tooth. We clean and dry the tooth, and place a rubber dam around it to prevent any contamination while we perform your procedure. A small hole is drilled into the top of the tooth. Specialized tools are used to remove the pulp and shape the canals. The interior of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected. We then place a filling material inside the tooth and prepare it for a dental crown. Until your permanent crown is ready (which can take several weeks) a temporary crown is placed to protect the tooth. Once your crown is finished, it is cemented into place, restoring strength to the tooth and providing it with protection from new infections.
Root canals do more than just remove the infection from a compromised tooth; they help to protect the tooth from extraction. If you are experiencing severe tooth pain, or suspect you have an infection, call Dentistry with Smiles right away at (360) 312-3187!