When tooth pulp becomes infected or dies, root canal therapy is necessary. It is a generally comfortable treatment that can save your tooth and keep your mouth healthy.
Symptoms of infectionSigns of an infected tooth include: sensitivity to hot or cold, pain when biting or applying pressure, throbbing or severe tooth pain, swollen gum tissue, and/or a bad taste in your mouth.
Causes of infectionTooth pulp is a soft tissue made up of nerves and blood vessels. The pulp chamber extends from the middle of the tooth down through the tooth roots.
A cracked tooth, decay or trauma may cause bacteria to invade the tooth’s inner layers, causing an infection or abscess. Infection occurs most commonly through a deep cavity that allows bacteria to enter through the enamel and dentin layers and into the pulp. Sometimes pulp dies due to a fracture or a blow to the tooth.
Left untreated, you may experience:
- Cheek swelling.
- A pimple-like area in the gum tissue
- And/or severe pain in the tooth
Diagnosis and Root Canal Therapy
Infected pulp is diagnosed through a thorough examination. This exam often includes radiographs. It may also include checking the pulp’s health with a pulp tester, applying heat or cold, tapping lightly on the tooth to test sensitivity, looking for changes in tooth color, or pressing gently on the gums near the tooth to check for pain.
If you have an infected tooth, we will talk with you about root canal therapy to remove the infection and save the tooth. This may be done in our office or we may refer you to an endodontist, who specializes in root canal therapy.
Root canal therapy is important to help save the tooth and maintain your healthy smile.