A root canal infection may occur when bacteria enter the tooth and infect the canals. This results in pain and discomfort. When the infection is severe, the tooth may fail to heal or may need to be removed.
The most common cause of a root canal infection is tooth decay, which slowly erodes the tooth until the roots are exposed. If the teeth sustain an external trauma and suffer damage, it can also lead to root canal infection. If left untreated, the root canal infection can spread to other teeth, resulting in tooth loss or other serious health problems. Besides, if the infected nerve tissue is not removed, the bacteria inside of it can spread to the bloodstream and to other parts of your body.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of root canal infection, you should call your dentist as soon as possible.
Symptoms of root canal infection include:
When teeth have deep decay or an infection in the pulp (the space inside the tooth), a root canal procedure is often necessary to save the tooth. A root canal refers to the removal of the dental pulp. The pulp is the soft tissue inside of the tooth that contains the nerves and blood supply. The pulp extends from the crown (the part of the tooth visible above the gum line) to the tip of the tooth root. Root canal therapy is needed when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures, or a crack or chip in the tooth.
A root canal is a treatment used to repair a severely infected tooth. The procedure involves removing the diseased or infected pulp of the tooth and then replacing it with synthetic material. This treatment is used to save teeth from extraction by removing the infected tissue inside the tooth.
First, the dentist will numb the area around the affected tooth. Then they will create a small opening in the enamel or the outer layer of the tooth. Then, the dentist will remove the damaged area of the tooth, including any infected or inflamed pulp. Then, the dentist will thoroughly clean the area and place medication inside the tooth. This will help it to heal and soothe the pain. Afterward, the dentist may place a temporary filling to protect the tooth. If the tooth is cracked or extremely decayed, the dentist may place a crown on the tooth for protection.
Root canal treatment prevents the need for tooth extraction. When you remove the tooth, you also remove the tooth’s root, which makes it more difficult to eat and speak—and puts other teeth at risk. A root canal treatment helps save a severely infected tooth, thus preventing extraction.
After a root canal, your tooth may feel sensitive for a few days. This is normal. Your tooth may feel a little sensitive when you bite down or when you consume hot or cold foods. Your tooth may also feel more sensitive when you chew your food, but this is a good sign. It means your bite is healing properly.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can often provide relief from pain after a root canal. If pain persists, or if you have increased pain after a few days, contact your endodontist.
At Diana Dizik, D.D.S., General & Cosmetic Dentistry, you can find solutions to all your dental problems. Call (650) 348-5424 to book an appointment or visit us at 720 N El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94401 for all your dental concerns.