Your teeth are strong. They are the hardest substance in your body, even harder than your bones. However, despite their strength, the teeth can still be faced with issues such as damage and decay. While the enamel protects the inner layers of the teeth from bacterial invasion, these issues can create an opening, allowing bacteria in. When this happens, an infection can result. The longer the infection goes untreated, the worse the effects of the infection become. Along with severe pain, untreated infections can eventually allow bacteria into your bloodstream, where they can travel throughout the rest of your body. At Neu Family Dental, we can treat the infection inside your tooth, restoring your oral health, with a root canal.
How Bacteria Invades the Tooth
The teeth are more complex than what they appear when you look in the mirror. The enamel, the layer that you see, is just one of many layers. Hidden inside the tooth are hollow channels that lead to the root of the tooth, as well as soft tissue known as pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, as well as nerves. While the enamel is exceptionally strong, it can still be damaged. An impact on the facial or jaw region, or even biting down on something hard, can cause the tooth to crack or get a chip that extends into the inner layers of the tooth. Acids from plaque and bacteria can erode the enamel, creating cavities that continue to develop until they reach the interior. When this happens, bacteria have an open the door to the inside of the tooth. They fill up the hollow canals, multiplying rapidly. They also irritate the sensitive pulp, causing it to become inflamed. The only way to eliminate infection from inside your tooth is with a root canal.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure that is performed to remove all of the bacteria from the inside of a tooth, treating the infection and restoring your oral health. To achieve this, the pulp and the nerves inside the tooth must also be removed. Once the tissue has been removed, the interior of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. To provide the tooth with strength, and protection from new infection, a dental crown is placed once the procedure is complete. By performing a root canal, we help you to avoid the need for an extraction.
What Symptoms Can Indicate an Infection?
There are numerous symptoms that can point to a tooth infection.
Diagnosing and Treating Your Tooth Infection
Before treating an infected tooth, the infection must first be diagnosed. This is done with a thorough oral exam. First, we take a close look at your teeth, checking for signs of damage. The gums are also inspected for redness and swelling. We also take digital x-rays of your mouth. This allows us to see any damage to the roots of your teeth and spot any bone loss or abscesses. Your images are also used to formulate your treatment plan.
Once the infection has been diagnosed, we move forward with the root canal. First, we administer a local anesthetic and provide you with sedation. We begin the procedure itself by drilling a small hole into the top of the tooth. Using small, specialized tools, we remove the pulp from the tooth. The canals are shaped, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected. We fill the tooth with a material called gutta percha. Finally, the tooth is prepared for, and capped with, a dental crown.
Symptoms of infection should not be ignored. If you suspect an infection in your tooth, call Neu Family Dental today at (224) 484-0227.
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