South Bay Dentistry & Orthodontics Family and Cosmetic Dentist
Root Canal Infections: Identifying Symptoms and Seeking Prompt Treatment

Root canal infections are among the many dental issues that people experience today. Root canal infections present with different symptoms that require prompt treatment to avoid escalating the dental issue that may cause other problems to your oral health. To most people, it would be a surprise to find out that they have a root canal infection following a trip to the dentist because sometimes the infections do not present any pain or discomfort. Read on to understand root canal infections, especially the specific symptoms to look for so that you can seek prompt treatment to maintain your dental health.

Understand Root Canal Infection

A root canal infection, or an endodontic infection, is an infection of the pulp. The pulp, consisting of connective tissue and blood vessels, is found in the center of the tooth. This part plays a crucial role in tooth growth and preservation. Immediately following an infection, you will not feel any pain, but as the infection spreads, you start to feel discomfort. A root canal infection may cause teeth to darken, indicating nerve and tooth damage, resulting in losing teeth. Clearly, you need to treat a root canal infection ASAP to prevent tooth or teeth loss!

Causes of Root Canal Infections

Root canal infections occur mainly due to bacteria living in your mouth, which invade teeth or a tooth, causing inflammation or infection of the pulp. There are different ways in which the bacteria in your mouth can sip through to your pulp. Read on and find out how!

  • Dental Decay: It is caused by bacteria that damage the protective part of the tooth, known as enamel. The bacteria penetrate further to the inner parts of the tooth, resulting in the pulp infection.
  • Trauma to the Tooth: You may injure your teeth due to a fall or any other accident. A severe strain on the tooth can damage the pulp directly, causing an infection in the short term. It can also directly affect the tooth by weakening the layers surrounding the pulp, resulting in a weak tooth that sips bacteria into it over time.
  • Repeated Dental Procedures: Your frequent visits to the dentist for different procedures on a tooth or several teeth expose them to root canal infections. Recurring filling procedures weaken the teeth, increasing the risk of bacterial infections.
  • Cracked Teeth: Deep cracks on your tooth or teeth expose your pulp to bacteria, leading to root canal infections. Cracks occur due to mouth injuries, ice chewing, or age.
  • Untreated Cavities: Untreated cavities expose your teeth to bacteria penetrating the pulp over time. Ensure you visit your dentist regularly to check your teeth and treat for cavities to avoid root canal infections.

Symptoms of Root Canal Infections

Guess what! You do not have to wait for your teeth or tooth condition to worsen before realizing you have a root canal infection. Some symptoms are signs of an infection that should influence your prompt visit to the dentist. So, what key symptoms must you observe to identify a root canal infection?

  • Persistent tooth pain: The pain can vary from mild to excruciating sensation based on the level of infection. It gets worse if you chew using the affected tooth or apply pressure to it.
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold: Strong sensitivity after taking hot or cold food or beverages indicates a root canal infection.
  • Swollen gums or jaw: Tenderness and swelling on the jaw or gum around the affected tooth is a symptom of a root canal infection. There is discomfort in the area when chewing.
  • Tooth Discoloration: Color changes occur on affected teeth. They may appear grey or yellow as opposed to white. The discoloration occurs following a damaged pulp, resulting in inadequate or lack of blood flow to the teeth.

Root Canal Treatment

Prepare your mind by knowing what to expect during a root canal treatment procedure! Your dentist or endodontist takes several steps in the process. The most common and widely used treatment is the root canal therapy. The therapy process involves:

  • The dentist administers anesthesia around the affected tooth to numb the pain.
  • A small incision on the tooth’s crown is made to help reach the pulp.
  • The dentist uses tools to remove the infected and decayed tissue or the pulp carefully.
  • The empty part is cleaned and shaped in preparation for a filling.
  • The last step of root canal therapy is to fill the space of the root canal and seal the access opening to allow healing.

Did you stick around to this last part of the reading? Now you know root canal infection’s causes, symptoms, and treatment methods! You know what symptoms to look for if you, a family member, or a friend suspect a root canal infection. Remember! Prompt treatment is the key to prolonged dental health.

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