When a tooth becomes infected, at some point it might need to be extracted in order to protect your overall oral health. Luckily, Dr. Pham can save your tooth by performing root canal therapy. This procedure is performed to remove infected or diseased pulp along with any bacteria inside your tooth. Afterwards, the area is resealed to prevent the infection from returning. Many patients believe that root canal therapy is exceptionally painful, but at Downtown Family Dental of Leesburg, we’ll use modern techniques and technologies to make your experience as comfortable as possible. If you think you might need a root canal, call us today.
The tooth contains a mass of blood vessels, lymphs, and nerve tissues collectively called the pulp. The pulp is responsible for nourishing the tooth and getting rid of waste. Under normal circumstances, the pulp is protected by the tooth’s two outer layers: the extremely hard enamel that’s visible on the surface and the slightly softer dentin that’s underneath. However, there are many ways your tooth’s defenses could be compromised. The enamel could be broken due to a blow to the mouth or another type of trauma, or a cavity could form as a result of poor oral hygiene. In any case, when the enamel and dentin have been damaged, the bacteria in your mouth could reach the pulp – and at that point your tooth is already at risk.
One of the most obvious signs of an infection is the severe pain that occurs when the bacteria in the pulp attack the nerves. You might notice that the pain gets worse whenever you’re biting or chewing with the affected tooth. Other warning signs include increased sensitivity (feeling pain whenever the tooth is exposed to hot or cold), small sores on the gums, swollen cheeks, and fever. Sometimes you might not realize a tooth is infected until it’s too late. Fortunately, regular dental checkups and X-rays can allow us to identify the problem early on.
First, it’s important to realize that multiple steps (including the use of anesthesia and advanced dental technology) will be taken to keep you comfortable and relaxed during your root canal therapy. Many people find that the procedure is actually no more painful than having a cavity filled.
During the actual procedure, Dr. Pham will make a small access hole in the tooth. The pulp will be removed though the hole, and any remaining bacteria or debris will be removed during a thorough disinfection. Once that’s done, the tooth is filled with an inert substance before being resealed; the final step will be to place a porcelain crown so that the tooth can continue to function normally.
A fully erupted tooth can survive without the pulp or any of the blood vessels and nerve tissues it contains. In the end, removing the source of infection will stop your discomfort and allow you to preserve your tooth.