A root canal infection is a serious dental issue that requires treatment right away. If left untreated, the infection can spread through the root canals of the tooth into the jawbone and gum tissue. If this occurs, it may cause long-term damage to the tooth, bone, and gum tissue.
What Is a Root Canal Infection?
A root canal infection happens when bacteria find their way from the mouth to the tooth’s pulp, which is the inner tissue of the tooth. Once inside the pulp, the bacteria multiply and cause an infection that spreads throughout the root canal system. The root canal system is the complex of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues that extend from the root to the end of the tooth.
As the infection grows, it begins to spread throughout the root canal system and into the jawbone. Eventually, it can affect the bone that surrounds and supports the tooth. Without treatment, the infection can cause pain, swelling, and loss of the tooth.
But don’t worry! With root canal therapy, we can save your tooth from extraction and restore the natural and healthy function of your smile.
How Root Canal Infections Develop
A tooth can develop a cavity or decay that penetrates the pulp chamber, which contains the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth. The bacteria in the mouth can enter the tooth through the deep cavity and start attacking the soft tissues of the inner areas of the tooth. This can cause an infection and inflammation inside the tooth.
Eventually, this infection can lead to an abscess. An abscess is a collection of pus that forms deep in the tooth and causes pain. It is formed as the pus builds up inside the infected tooth. It grows larger over time and can even spread to the gums and bone surrounding the tooth.
Symptoms of a Root Canal Infection
Once bacteria reach the pulp through the injured tooth, they start to multiply rapidly and cause inflammation in the tissues inside and surrounding the tooth. The swelling and pain caused by this infection are the first symptoms patients tend to notice, and they are obvious signs of a problem that requires treatment. The severe pain usually comes without warning, and it can last for days or weeks before it starts fading away as the infection is treated.
The swelling often comes with increased sensitivity to temperature and touch. Patients will also notice that their gums around the affected area will become red and tender to the touch, and they may bleed when brushing their teeth or rinsing with mouthwash. Discomfort is usually felt around the affected area anywhere between one and three days prior to when the abscess forms. Bad breath and halitosis are also common side effects of the developing infection.
As the infection progresses, it will start draining pus out of the affected tooth, and the gum area will swell up. The swelling usually occurs in the area surrounding the infected tooth. In some cases, an abscess may form directly under the infected tooth. When an abscess doesn’t drain itself within a few days, the dentist will need to drain it manually. All these symptoms may indicate that you need a root canal treatment.
What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is a procedure our dentist performs to save a tooth that is infected or badly decayed. During a root canal procedure, the dentist removes the dental pulp and all of the decayed parts of the tooth. The inner part of the tooth is then cleaned and sealed, and the tooth is capped with a crown.
Root canal treatments can relieve the pain caused by an infected tooth and prevent further damage from occurring.
What Does Root Canal Treatment Involve?
During a root canal procedure, our dentist will remove the infected tissue from the interior of your tooth. The interior of the tooth is then cleaned and disinfected. After the tooth is clean, it will be filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha, and the tooth will be sealed.
To learn more about our dental services or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Russell, call Russell Family Dentistry at (281) 351-5458 or visit us at 29210 Quinn Road, Tomball, TX 77375.