Is It a Tooth Infection?

Is It a Tooth Infection?

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Tooth Infection | Dentist speaking to patient.

Few things are more unwanted than a tooth infection. In spite of your best efforts, this can be an unfortunate eventuality. You may not even realize it in its early stages. But if you have a severe tooth infection, you will definitely know it because you will be in a world of pain. Fortunately, help is available for anyone in such an unfortunate situation. Prompt pain relief and treatment often takes the form of a root canal procedure performed by a root canal dentist, or endodontist.

What is a tooth infection?

A tooth infection doesn’t occur all at once. It is a process. Typically, oral bacteria will create an acidic environment in the mouth that eats away at the outer part of your tooth called the tooth enamel. Once it has gained entry through this strong barrier, it is just a short trip through the softer dentin layer of the tooth. From there, the bacteria can travel beyond the dentin into the soft inner pulp found at the heart of the tooth. This area contains blood vessels and many nerves. Once the tooth infection reaches this point, it causes severe pain and risks the loss of the tooth.

What is a root canal procedure?

When a tooth infection becomes extremely severe and reaches the dental pulp, a root canal procedure may be necessary. Although many patients fear the idea of having a root canal, it is actually no more uncomfortable than getting a dental filling, for most patients. And the good news is that a successful root canal procedure will save your tooth. We always want to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible, and a root canal allows us to do that.

A root canal procedure involves the removal of the infected dental pulp, which is replaced by an inert material to prevent the return of a bacterial infection.

What is involved with getting a root canal procedure?

After your dentist delivers a local anesthetic to numb your tooth, they will place a dental dam around the tooth to isolate the area. Next, they will drill down from the top of the tooth to make room for dental instruments. They will use those instruments to remove the infected or inflamed dental pulp. The leftover space will then be completely cleaned and contoured to make room for a special filling to replace the dental pulp.

What happens after a root canal?

After filling the root canal, your dentist will put a temporary filling into place to seal and protect the area. At some point, you will likely have a dental crown placed over the tooth to provide additional strength to the area.

How can I prevent the need for a root canal procedure?

For most people, regularly brushing and flossing at home is enough. You also should keep up with your regular dental exams and cleanings with your dentist. Even though you can remove plaque at home, it can harden into tartar that is only removable by a dental professional.

Learn More

Prevent a tooth infection by maintaining your routine dental visits. Schedule an exam and cleaning with Liberia Dental Care! New patients are welcome.

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