Root Canal Therapy
How Does a Tooth Become Infected?While they might not look like it from the outside, your teeth have several layers. You only see the outermost layer, the hard, protective enamel. Just below this layer is another hard layer, though not as hard as your enamel. This layer, called the dentin, has hollow channels that travel down to the roots of your teeth. Below the dentin is a hollow chamber. This chamber contains the pulp, or soft tissue, which contains blood vessels and nerves. The nerves help you to sense temperatures.
While your enamel is incredibly hard, it can still develop a crack, a chip, or decay. If the damage travels past the enamel and into the inner layers, bacteria can travel inside of the tooth. They take up residence inside the canals and the pulp chamber, where they begin to attack the soft tissue. The tissue becomes irritated and inflamed.
Over time, infection can worsen. Bacteria may spread out through the root of the tooth and into the jawbone. This can lead to the formation of a sac, or abscess. An abscess forms to contain the bacteria to prevent them from spreading. However, without treatment, the abscess may grow larger and eventually rupture, which can then contribute to serious health consequences.
What are the Symptoms of an Infection?A painful toothache is one of the most common symptoms of an infection. However, it is possible for an infection to develop without pain. There are other symptoms that may also develop. These include:
How is an Infection Diagnosed?When you notice symptoms of an infection, it is important that you schedule an exam as soon as possible. During your exam, we go over your symptoms and look over your mouth. We check your teeth for signs of damage and decay. Your gums are assessed for signs of an infection, including redness and swelling. We also take X-rays of your mouth. These images will show us if an abscess has formed or if you have suffered bone loss. Once we diagnose the infection, we are then able to formulate the most effective treatment plan.
Treating an Infection with Root Canal TherapyTreating a tooth infection involves root canal therapy. This procedure begins with a small access hole being drilled into the top of the tooth. Small tools are then used to remove the pulp and the nerve. The canals of the tooth are shaped, and the entire interior is cleaned and disinfected. A special material is placed inside the tooth, which helps to seal the canals, preventing new bacteria from getting into them. Finally, a crown is placed over the tooth, which provides it with additional protection against re-infection and restores its strength.
A root canal is a highly effective treatment that eliminates an infection, restoring the health of an infected tooth as well as its strength. If you notice any symptoms of an infection, call Encino Cosmetic Dentistry at (818) 783-0408 to schedule your appointment right away.