Root Canal

A tooth infection comes with a lot of discomfort and pain. It can also affect your general health. If an infection extends to your tooth’s underlying structures, your dentist must remove the infected roots and clean the entire part to stop the infection. Root canal therapy is highly recommended in the case of a severe cavity that has resulted in an infection of the tooth and its structures. You could save the tooth that way and prevent the infection from spreading to the adjacent teeth.

However, you must work with a highly skilled general dentist like Dr. Joseph Goodman for the most effective, professional, and affordable treatment. You deserve a dentist with skills and experience in various dental care treatments in Beverly Hills, including root canal therapy. He will diagnose you, develop a treatment plan, and follow up after treatment to ensure your treatment is successful.

An Overview of Root Canal Therapy

A tooth’s underlying structures are vital to its appearance and function. Good oral health also ensures that the teeth’s underlying structures are healthy. It is impossible to enjoy good oral health if one or more of your tooth’s structures are infected or damaged. General dentists have a wide range of treatments specifically for the underlying structures. If your dentist realizes a problem with one of your tooth’s inner tissues and structures after a general examination, they must recommend treatment immediately.

The gums highly protect a tooth’s underlying structures. Thus, damage to these structures is rare. However, an infection on a tooth’s surface can extend to its underneath tissues and roots, causing a severe infection that threatens oral health and general well-being. Root canal treatment is highly recommended as it rids the tooth of the infected pulp, saving your teeth and protecting the adjacent teeth and their structures.

A cavity is a serious problem affecting more than one tooth and the teeth’ underlying structures. It starts mildly and worsens over time. If a cavity is left untreated for a long time, it becomes more prominent and profound. It creates an aperture that is difficult to keep clean with regular brushing and flossing. If some food particles are trapped in the cavity and are not cleaned out, they can combine with oral bacteria, resulting in a severe infection. The infection will first attack the tooth and then its inner structures.

If you experience a toothache and fail to seek treatment immediately, the infection will continue spreading to your tooth’s underlying structures, attacking its pulp. Then, the toothache will be unbearable, causing you to seek medical treatment. You will also start to experience fever, chills, and other symptoms of an infection.

Once the infection reaches your tooth’s pulp, it can quickly spread to other teeth and the bloodstream, affecting overall health. Your dentist must take immediate action to stop the infection. Removing the infected pulp is the best way to stop such an infection. Your dentist will seal the underlying structure thoroughly to prevent further infection and restore the affected tooth.

Root canal treatment instantly relieves pain, sensitivity, fever, and other symptoms. However, it will take some time to heal completely, and then you can resume eating and speaking normally.

What Causes an Infection to a Tooth Pulp?

Remember that root canal treatment only occurs when the tooth pulp becomes infected. A tooth’s pulp can become infected for various reasons, including the following:

Untreated Tooth Decay or Cavity

Cavities are the main reason why underlying tooth structures become infected. A decayed tooth develops a hole in its upper part, which becomes more extensive with time. If left untreated, the cavity deepens, exposing the tooth’s underlying structures. That exposes the sensitive pulp to external factors and increases its risk of infection.

Oral bacteria serve various functions in the mouth, including freshening your breath and aiding food digestion. However, if harmful bacteria combine with stuck food particles in the cavity, it can cause inflammation and infection that will spread to the exposed tooth’s underlying structures. The infection will cause severe toothaches and other infection-related symptoms, like fever.

Severe Facial Injuries

If you have been in an accident, and one or more of your teeth sustained severe damage, the affected root’s structure can become infected. If the damage exposes one or more of your root’s internal structures, the structures are at risk of infection. Remember that the tooth’s underlying structures are susceptible and must remain protected to avoid infections. If exposed, they can quickly come into contact with dangerous external factors, like infection-causing bacteria.

Thus, damaged and cracked teeth must be treated immediately after an accident. If you suffer a heavy blow while playing your favorite sport or have been in a road accident, allow your dentist to examine your teeth for damage. Even a minor crack can extend quickly, causing the dangerous bacteria to spread to the tooth’s roots.

Several Invasive Dental Treatments

Invasive dental procedures like tooth fillings and the removal of dental abscesses are helpful, but they can expose a tooth’s underlying structure to dangerous infection-causing external factors. Choosing a highly skilled and experienced dentist is advisable if you need invasive dental treatment. If an inexperienced dentist performs a significant procedure, they can overlook some safety precautions that could result in an infection. For example, a poorly performed dental filling will cause a cavity to continue worsening, which could eventually result in an infection of the tooth’s roots. If you have several invasive procedures in one spot, your risk of infection increases.

A Poorly Done Tooth Filling

Tooth fillings help cover a damaged tooth to prevent further damage and restore its structure. It is mainly recommended for teeth with cavities. Dentists first clean out the cavity, then fill it up carefully with a safe dental filling to prevent further damage to the tooth and restore the lost structure. However, a poorly done filling can further damage the tooth, causing an infection to the tooth’s roots. If a cavity is not filled correctly, it could allow some food particles through, eventually combining with oral bacteria to cause an infection. Remember that cavities are hard to clean with regular brushing and flossing. That is why you must seek treatment from a skilled general dentist immediately after you notice a cavity.

What Causes Dentists To Recommend Root Canal Therapy?

Even when you are in pain, or your tooth is sensitive and has a dental abscess, you cannot tell if you need root canal therapy or any other treatment. Your dentist will recommend the proper treatment after examining your teeth and gums and reviewing your treatment history. Dentists must thoroughly examine the best treatment to relieve your symptoms and prevent the infection from spreading to other body parts. They recommend root canal therapy only after the dentist is convinced the infection has spread to your tooth’s roots.

Here are some of the symptoms that could indicate an infection and cause the dentist to recommend root canal therapy for you:

Your Tooth’s Color Has Changed

When you visit a dentist with a severe toothache, they will not open up your gum to check whether your tooth’s root and underlying structures are infected. Dentists are trained to observe other indications of an infection, including a change in the color of the affected tooth. Your natural teeth have a distinct color, which changes whenever there is a problem. If your milky white natural tooth has become dark or brownish, it could indicate an infection in its underlying structures.

An infection affects the blood supply to the tooth, hence the change in its color. A skilled dentist can tell the severity of the infection by how much your tooth’s color has changed.

You Have Severe Toothache

An infected tooth pulp will cause a severe toothache that will compel you to visit a dentist for treatment. Once at the dentist’s office, your dentist will examine the affected tooth and adjacent teeth to determine the actual location of the pain and its cause. The affected tooth will be sensitive and painful to touch. However, if its underlying structure is infected, the adjacent teeth are also painful and sensitive to touch.

An infection also affects the tooth’s nerves, hence the pain and sensitivity you experience when you apply pressure on the affected tooth and the adjacent ones. The dentist’s examination will be followed by a series of questions whose answers could indicate a need for root canal therapy.

You Have Minor Swellings Around the Affected Tooth

An infection on a tooth will also spread to the gum and the surrounding structures. Small swellings on the surrounding gum indicate that your tooth and its structures are infected. The swellings can be small or big, depending on the gravity of the infection. The small swellings could develop into dental abscesses, where pus accumulates in minor swelling around the tooth. You should visit a dentist immediately after you notice these small swellings.

One or More of Your Teeth Are Sensitive

Tooth sensitivity is a common indication of a dental problem. It could also indicate an infection of a tooth or teeth and their underlying structures. During your dental examination, your dentist will ask whether one or more of your teeth are sensitive. They will ask how you feel when you eat something cold or hot or bite on something. The dentist can also touch the affected tooth to gauge your reaction. Tooth sensitivity mainly occurs when a tooth’s nerves are exposed to or affected by bacterial damage. A severe infection will result in extreme sensitivity that does not go away even with medication.

How Dentists Perform Root Canal Therapy

Here are some of the steps your dentist will take in performing root canal therapy to remove the infected root pulp and manage your symptoms:

Pre-Treatment Consultation

Every treatment starts with a consultation. You explain your symptoms to the dentist for evaluation and diagnosis. You must schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately when you notice symptoms of a tooth infection, like toothache, sensitivity, and dental abscess. Once at the dentist’s office, they will conduct a physical examination to determine the exact problem and provide a diagnosis.

Your dentist will ask questions as they physically examine your teeth and gums. For example,  they can ask how you feel when the toothache and sensitivity start and when you chew, bite, or take something cold or hot. They will also ask about your treatment history and the medication you are taking at that particular time.

The dentist can order more diagnostic examinations to determine whether the infection has spread to your tooth’s underlying structures. For example, they can request that you undergo a CT scan. The scan will reveal the condition of your tooth’s roots, tissues, and jawbone. If the infection has spread to the underlying structures, your dentist will recommend an immediate root canal treatment to stop the infection and save the infected tooth.

During this consultation, it is advisable to be forthcoming with information to ensure the dentist makes the correct diagnosis. You can also ask questions to understand the treatment and how long it will take to recover.

Administration of Anesthesia

The dentist can perform root canal therapy on your first visit to their office. If you understand what the treatment entails and agree with it, it is good to treat the infection immediately to prevent it from spreading further.

Your treatment will start with the administration of anesthesia. Remember that root canal therapy is an invasive treatment. Since it is painful and uncomfortable, the dentist will use anesthesia to keep you calm and relaxed throughout the treatment. Anesthesia will numb the treatment site, so you will not experience pain or discomfort.

Dentists use three types of anesthesia in invasive treatment procedures. The most common anesthesia used during root canal therapy is local anesthesia. It ensures you remain awake throughout the process but do not experience pain or discomfort.

The dentists will also protect your tooth using a dental dam to keep it safe from the sharp objects used during the treatment. The dam will also block the saliva and any other elements from entering the treatment site and interfering with the procedure.

Opening and Cleaning the Infected Area

Once you are ready for treatment, the dentist will open the gum to access the treatment site. The treatment site, in this case, is beneath the infected tooth. That is where they will find the infected pulp. The dentist will perform root canal treatment by removing the infected pulp and cleaning out the site to remove traces of harmful bacteria. The dentist can repeat the cleaning process a few times to ensure they eliminate the harmful bacteria at the treatment site. This helps stop[ the infections and prevent them from spreading further.

Dentists require great skill and care when performing this procedure to avoid damaging uninfected tooth structures and to ensure that the internal structures are entirely free of infection. Once the dentist cleans the treatment site, they can administer a treatment solution to disinfect it and prevent a fresh infection after treatment. The dentist will then put everything back in place before sealing the site to its original condition.

Filling and Sealing the Treatment Site

After root canal therapy, the dentist must fill and seal the treatment site to restore its shape and appearance. They use a safe dental filling material to restore the lost structure and set a solid foundation for the remaining tooth. Sealing helps protect the treatment site from external elements that could cause an infection. The dentists will also shape the treatment site to restore its original appearance.

The area must be completely sealed after filling to prevent food particles from entering the internal structures of the treated tooth. Dentists perform this procedure carefully to prevent a fresh infection on an already treated site. They use rubber materials to seal root canals for longevity and strength.

Your dentists could require you to wait a few days before the filing and sealing. If you have undergone an extensive invasive treatment process, your dentist could require you to wait a few days for the internal structures to heal before they perform the filling and sealing. However, the dentist will place something on the treatment site, like cotton gauze, to protect the site from external elements that could cause an infection. They will also advise you on what to eat and how to eat it to prevent damage to the treatment site.

Root Canal Can Save Your Natural Tooth

An infection of a tooth’s pulp does not necessarily mean the tooth is completely damaged and requires extraction. Some infections spread quickly to a tooth’s roots before damaging the natural tooth. Besides, the enamel of a natural tooth is pretty strong. If much of your natural tooth is still intact, the dentist can recommend restoring its appearance and structure instead of replacing it with an artificial tooth. Once you undergo root canal therapy, your restored tooth will no longer be at risk of further damage. It can remain solid and functional for years.

Caring for Your Teeth After Root Canal Therapy

After root canal therapy, the treatment site will take some time to heal completely. Thus, you can take a break from your daily chores to allow your body to recover. Your dentist will give you some pain medication within a particular period. Thus, pain will decrease by the day. They will also discuss some safety measures you must take to promote quick and effective healing. For example, you must wait a few days to eat some of your favorite foods to avoid interfering with healing. You could start with liquid foods and introduce solids gradually as you heal.

After a few days, you should be ready to resume the life you are accustomed to. Your dentists will give you aftercare tips to keep your gums and teeth healthy and strong. It is advisable to follow these instructions carefully to prevent another infection that could require you to undergo another root canal treatment. While most aftercare tips will help you heal well, some will help you maintain excellent oral health. Here are some of the tips that could help after root canal treatment:

  • Good oral health habits are essential to preventing cavities and infections. These habits entail brushing after every meal or at least twice a day and flossing to remove stuck food particles between your teeth. You can also rinse your mouth daily with a fluoride-based mouthwash to kill bacteria and prevent bad breath.
  • Avoid applying pressure to the treatment site until it is completely healed. Thus, you could avoid using one side of your mouth when chewing or biting to avoid hurting yourself and interfering with the treatment process.
  • Use pain medication as directed by the dentist and for the required period. If you still experience pain after the recommended period, consult with your dentist before continuing to use pain medication.
  • Ensure you attend all scheduled follow-ups with the dentists to ensure you are recovering well.
  • Contact your dentist immediately after you notice a problem with the treatment site or any other part of your mouth. For example, if you experience pain, bleeding, or swelling, you must seek treatment immediately.

Find a Competent General Dentist Near Me

If you are experiencing endless toothaches and sensitivity, have developed dental abscesses, or have fevers and chills, you could have an infection. You should visit a dentist immediately after noticing these symptoms for a quick diagnosis and treatment. Your dentist can recommend root canal therapy if the infection has spread to a tooth’s roots and supporting structures. This treatment will remove the infected structures and stop the infection from spreading to the adjacent teeth and bloodstream.

A dentist with the right training and experience, like Dr. Joseph Goodman, can perform timely, and effective root canal therapy. They will begin your treatment by examining your teeth, gums, and underlying structures to determine the cause and extent of the infection. Then the dentist will discuss their findings and your treatment options. Contact us at 310-860-9311 for professional and reliable dental services in Beverly Hills