Prevent Tooth Infection with Root Canal Therapy
There is soft tissue, known as dental pulp, in the center of a tooth. It is contained in a chamber in the upper portion of the tooth, with canals running through the roots. In a healthy tooth, the pulp is well protected, shrouded in hard layers of dentin, enamel, and cementum. When there are fractures or deep cavities present in a tooth, the pulp may be exposed. Bacteria are microscopically small, and capable of traveling through a hairline fracture that is too small to see with the naked eye.
Why treatment is needed
Once bacteria enter the tooth, they quickly multiply, creating pressure. This can irritate the nerve, causing undue sensitivity to pressure and temperature. As the infection spreads, the dental pulp, including the nerve, continues deteriorating, exacerbating the pain. Pockets of pus, called abscesses, can form on the gums near the tooth. An abscess can present a serious health risk, because the pocket will continue growing until it is drained or it bursts naturally, possibly releasing a large amount of infection into your body. A toothache accompanied by facial swelling is a sign of a serious abscess.
What root canal therapy accomplishes
When the dental pulp is injured or infected, its protective armor of hard tooth material becomes detrimental. In the early days of dentistry, an infected tooth meant an extracted tooth. Because there was not a good way to access and remove the infection, it would continue causing pain, sensitivity, and abscesses until the tooth was gone. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. Today, an infected tooth can be saved and restored with a root canal treatment.
The procedure is delicate, requiring a skilled hand and careful attention to detail. However, when performed by an experienced dentist such as Dr. Rykard, it is every efficient and predictable. An access opening is created in the upper part of the tooth, and specialized tools are used to clean out the canals. After the infected pulp has been removed, the canal is sterilized, filled, and sealed. A dental crown may be recommended to complete the restoration.
To learn more, or to schedule an appointment at our Oklahoma City office, call (405) 896-6919.