Many of us have had a cavity filled at the dentist’s office before. But root canals are a little different.
When a tooth becomes infected or diseased, a root canal treatment can save it from a grim fate. This procedure is less costly than extractions and dental implant replacements. It also helps you keep your natural tooth.
If you’re concerned about a sore tooth, keep reading. We’re going to share some information on what might cause a root canal infection, and how you can treat it:
What Causes Root Canal Infections?
Teeth that have cavities leave the innermost layers exposed to bacteria. You’re probably familiar with tooth enamel, but beneath it, there’s a layer of dentin. It covers pulp, which is a soft tissue in your mouth that connects to the roots of your teeth. If the enamel or dentin of a tooth is worn away, bacteria can easily infect the pulp and damage the roots.
As soon as a tooth is injured, it becomes susceptible to root canal infections. Your teeth need a strong outer layer to protect the inner tissue from harmful bacteria. That’s why it’s best to address dental problems early—left untreated, cavities can cause further damage.
What is a Root Canal?
When a cavity is filled, the decayed material is removed and a filling (typically made of porcelain or metal) is inserted in its place. During a root canal, infected or decayed material is removed from the chamber within the tooth.
Before the treatment begins, the patient is given an anaesthetic to minimize discomfort. The dentist will drill away the top layer of the tooth, then remove any damaged or infected pulp. Since the tooth is fully developed, it no longer requires the pulp to function—the surrounding tissues supply the tooth with nutrients. It’s common to apply a crown after a root canal to give the tooth additional protection.
Symptoms of an Infection
The tooth is getting darker. This is perhaps the easiest symptom to notice—if your tooth is changing colour, it may be because the blood flow is restricted. Before the roots of the teeth are too far gone, give your dentist a call.
Pain. A toothache is never a good sign. You may notice pain when you chew, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, and/or a persistent dull ache. Pain can arise from cavities, or the issue may go deeper.
Bad breath. An unpleasant smell that remains, even when you brush your teeth, might be due to bacteria.
Swelling of the gums. If your gums feel especially tender, you might have cause for concern. Take note of any pimples that develop near the gum line, which are another sign of an infection.
The only way to know for certain if your root canal is infected is to have x-rays taken by a dentist.
What to Do if Your Root Canal Gets Infected?
Any of the above symptoms, or a combination of them, should raise your suspicions about an infection. The sooner you take action, the better the chances are that your tooth can be saved.
Although many patients dread root canals, here’s one thing you might not know: they’re no more painful than your routine cavity filling. Thanks to recent developments in the dental industry, dentists have managed to effectively alleviate the discomfort that patients feel during these procedures. EK Dental offers root canals in Winnipeg. When you use our services, you know that your oral health is in good hands.