Routine dental assessments, cleanings, and effective at-home dental care are your best defenses against oral infections. Mainly, oral infections on the teeth happen due to poor dental hygiene. When you don’t brush and floss your teeth well, it can promote an overgrowth of bacteria and plaque build-up in the mouth. The harmful bacteria release toxic chemicals on the teeth’ surfaces, eroding enamel.
When the tooth’s enamel is compromised, bacteria finds its way into the tooth’s inner chambers and infects the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. To help you understand tooth infection well, let’s look at the tooth’s structure and how the infection happens. Generally, the tooth consists of:
If you’re experiencing recurrent tooth pain, swelling, abscess, and sensitivity around one of your teeth, chances are the tooth is infected. If so, it’s essential to seek professional help promptly to address the problem and reduce the chances of further complications. A tooth infection can lead to tooth loss, gum inflammation, and bone damage if not treated. Eventually, the infection will ruin your smile and negatively impact your oral function and health.
Root canal treatment is necessary if a tooth’s pulp is infected or damaged. Symptoms of a pulp infection include:
If the infection progresses, the pulp will eventually die, and these symptoms will disappear. While you may think that the infection is gone, it will only spread through the root canal and surrounding teeth, gums, and jawbone. Similarly, oral conditions could endanger your overall well-being and increase your risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and autoimmune diseases. If you’re experiencing these issues, it’s essential to see an endodontist as soon as possible.
Unlike a regular dentist, an endodontist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, cause, and treatment of diseases that affect the tooth. The orthodontist will begin by examining your mouth to look for infections. The dentist will use x-rays to check the extent of the damage. If the tooth is severely decayed and there’s not enough structure to perform a root canal and place a crown, the dentist might recommend extraction. The dentist will schedule you for endodontic treatment if they can save the tooth.
Root canal therapy is highly successful, and in most cases, you won’t require more than one treatment. An endodontist or dentist can perform the procedure. To prevent pain and discomfort during the operations, the dentist will numb the area around the infected tooth.
Next, the dentist will place a rubber dam around the tooth to keep the area dry and free of saliva contamination. The dentist will drill into the tooth to access the tooth’s pulp. Next, they use root canal files to access the holes and remove the infected tissues. The tooth is then rinsed and disinfected with water or sodium hypochlorite.
After cleaning the tooth, the dentist can put a temporary filling to seal the tooth. The dentist will seal the root canals with a rubber compound (gutta-percha) at the next meeting. A filling closes the holes formed after removing the tooth’s pulp. The last step involves placing a dental crown to strengthen the tooth and restore its full function. Your dentist will discuss any other arrangements with you.
After the treatment, you may experience minimal discomfort such as tenderness and sensitivity around the repaired tooth due to the treatment. The dentist can give you some medications to relieve the pain. Fortunately, these side effects should go away after a few days.
Until the treatment area has healed completely, stick to soft foods and avoid chewing on the repaired tooth. Proper dental hygiene is also essential to prevent re-infection. You should also avoid smoking, alcohol abuse, and consumption of acidic and sugary foods.