People tend to fear a root canal treatment, which in a sense, is ironic. The procedure itself is not very complicated and will relieve pain instead of causing pain. Unfortunately, root canal treatment has a reputation of being extremely uncomfortable and more than a little painful. The truth is, having an infected root is very painful, as the infection sends massive amounts of pain signals to the brain.
However, this has nothing to do with the root canal treatment itself, which relieves pain. Association is a very powerful memory maker, and so patients think of a root canal treatment in terms of the pain they were actually experiencing because of the infected pulp. During the course of the root canal treatment, we will be removing the infected pulp, cleaning and sealing the inside of the tooth. We will make sure that we will remove any element causing pain. In a sense, the root canal treatment is the end of the road for the infection pain.
An Infected Tooth
When the outside of the tooth or gums becomes infected, there is always a chance of the infection spreading to the dental pulp. When the infection spreads to the pulp, the soft area inside the tooth, it starts to break down. As the pulp breaks down, the bacteria begins to rapidly to multiply within the tooth’s inner chamber. This inner chamber also contains the blood vessels and connective tissue used under normal circumstances to nourish the tooth.
In the worst case scenario, the tooth will actually form an abscess, or a pus-filled pocket, that forms at the root’s end. Once the pulp is infected, there is really no alternative route other than performing a root canal treatment to save the tooth. Since the root is only involved in the sensory functions of the tooth, it can be removed with very little consequence.
People often ask, “How will I know that I need root canal treatment?” Here are a few easy ways to know if it is time to talk to Henderson Family Dentistry and get an inspection for an infected tooth.
You have a swelling or tenderness around the gums
This can range from being very slight, where you will not even notice it, to extremely obvious.
The tooth will become highly sensitive, especially to changes in temperature
This is simply the reaction your teeth have when exposed to heat or cold. When the tooth is infected, changes in temperature are likely to send a sharp pain into your gums. You could have reoccurring or persistent pain
The pain can be a sharp headache that does not go away quickly or a dull and continuous ache. If the pain is severe enough to wake you up in the middle of the night, it is definitely time to see a dentist.
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