The root canal is a central cavity present in a tooth. It houses the dental pulp, which comprises the blood vessels and the nerves responsible for nutrition and sensitivity. When microbes enter the root canal cavity, they could infect the dental pulp, resulting in a condition called a root canal infection.
How is a root canal infection caused?
Some of the prominent causes of a root canal infection are:
Cavities: Cavities are caused due to the microbial activity in the mouth. They deposit on the teeth in the form of plaque and tartar, which can lead to tooth decay if not removed at regular intervals. If cavities are not treated at the initial stages itself, they can grow deeper and reach the root canal cavity, resulting in a severe infection.
External trauma: External trauma to the teeth may damage them by causing cracks, chipping, or even fractures. Such teeth should ideally be restored at the earliest using dental crowns, veneers, or composite bonding. If left untreated, the microbes can enter the root canal through the cracks and cause an infection.
Gum diseases: Gingivitis and periodontitis can decay the gums, tooth roots, and affect the underlying jawbone as well. The microbes can enter the root canal cavity through the tooth roots and decay the dental pulp as well, thereby leading to a root canal infection.
What are the symptoms?
- Bleeding gums
- Pain and extreme sensitivity of the infected tooth
- The infected tooth could turn dull in color
- Discharge of pus from the gums
- Jawbone deterioration
- The tooth may loosen from the socket
How is root canal infection treated?
The specialized branch of dentistry that deals with the treatment and restoration of a root canal infected tooth is called endodontics. The dentist will conduct a diagnosis of the tooth and determine the severity of the condition. Ideally, root canal therapy is the last resort treatment method to save a severely infected tooth. If any other restorative treatment would help, we will discuss the various options with you. But, if the infection is in the advanced stage, the dentist will prepare you for the root canal therapy.
The teeth will be cleaned, and a rubber dam is placed on them to separate the infected tooth. A tiny hole is made on it using high-precision instruments. Dental files will be inserted into the root canal cavity, and the infected pulp will be extracted. The walls of the cavity will also be scrubbed to remove the adhered microbes, after which they will be removed using a jet of water. The hole is sealed with a suitable tooth-colored filling, and a dental crown will be placed on the tooth to restore it to its ideal strength and functionality.
To have a consultation with our dentists, please schedule an online appointment or call us at (501) 758-7462, and we will be happy to help.