Your teeth see a lot of use every day. While they are incredibly strong, they can still be faced with physical damage and decay. Damage can do more than affect the appearance of a tooth. It can also affect the health of the tooth, leading to a serious tooth infection that can affect your oral and overall health. At Olson Family Dental, we can restore the health of an infected tooth with root canal therapy.
How Does Damage Cause Infection?
Your teeth may look simple from the outside, but they are made up of several layers. The layer that you see, the enamel, is the hardest layer. Enamel is heavily mineralized, and it's the hardest substance in the human body. Below the enamel is the dentin, still a hard substance, but not as much as the enamel. This layer contains hollow canals that lead to the roots of the teeth. The innermost layer of your teeth is the pulp chamber and the pulp. The pulp is the soft tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves. If a crack, chip, or decay goes past the enamel layer and into the dentin, the health of the affected tooth is compromised. This type of damage can allow bacteria to enter inside. Once there, the bacteria begin to multiply in the canals and start attacking the pulp. The pulp, then becomes irritated and inflamed, which can cause you a significant amount of pain.
Signs of an Infection
A toothache is one of the most obvious and common signs that there is a problem. If you are experiencing a toothache, it is essential that you seek dental attention as quickly as possible. There are other symptoms of infection as well.
Swelling in the jaw near the affected tooth.
You have a bad taste in your mouth that does not seem to go away no matter what you do.
Lingering pain or sensitivity.
The loss of bone mass in your jaw.
Diagnosing an Infected Tooth
When you are experiencing symptoms of a tooth infection, it is essential to schedule an appointment right away. We perform a thorough oral exam, including dental X-rays. First, we look over the teeth, checking for signs of physical damage and decay. We also look over your gums to check for symptoms such as redness and swelling. Next, we take X-rays. These images allow us to see the structures under your gums. We can see root damage, bone loss, and abscesses. An abscess is a fluid-filled sac that forms when the bacteria begin spilling out of the tooth root. It forms in an attempt to contain the bacteria. Over time, it can grow in size and may even rupture. Abscesses are the most obvious sign of infection. If we determine the presence of an infection, and the tooth is treatable, we then go forward and make a treatment plan for root canal therapy.
What to Expect from Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is done under a local anesthetic. We drill a small access hole in the top of the tooth. Using small tools, we remove the infected pulp and the nerve from the tooth. Next, the canals are shaped, and the entire interior is cleaned and disinfected. A special material called gutta percha is placed inside the empty space, sealing the canals. Finally, the tooth is prepared for and provided with a dental crown. The crown aids in strengthening the tooth and preventing a new infection from occurring. If you are experiencing symptoms of a tooth infection, it is important to schedule an appointment immediately. Call Olson Family Dental today at (203) 663-3316.
Our Mission Work
The doctors have participated in multiple missions trips to the Dominican Republic to perform extractions for children in schools who have never seen a dentist. Learn More
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