If your dentist has recently told you that you need a root canal because a cavity has infected your tooth, then you may be a bit uneasy about having the procedure completed. Root canals are standard and common treatments, and about 41,000 root canals are completed each day. This means that your general dentist is probably very used to completing root canals. If you need the treatment, you also should think about scheduling it as soon as possible. Keep reading to understand why.
Your Tooth May Hurt Even More
If you made an appointment to see your dentist when you tooth started to hurt, then you probably have an infection that has just started. This will typically occur when the bacteria have eaten away at the different layers of the tooth. The microorganisms have destroyed the tooth enamel, dentin, and cementum, and have reached the pulp chamber. This is where the capillaries and soft tissues sit within your tooth. As the tissues become infected, you will start to feel pain.
The infection in the tooth will become worse and worse, and the bacteria will eventually reach down the tooth into the root chambers. This is where the tooth nerves sit, and the nerves are responsible for sending sensation information to the brain. When the roots become infected, they will release strong pain signals, and your tooth will feel much worse than it did before. The pain will typically continue until the tooth nerves die.
Once all the living tissues in your tooth have been destroyed, your tooth will no longer receive fluids or nutrition. The tooth will become dry and brittle and may crack across the crown. Depending on the size of the crack, you may need a full dental extraction instead of root canal and a ceramic crown.
The Infection May Start To Spread
When a dental infection first starts to form, it is contained within the pulp chamber of the tooth. Typically, pus and infected tissues stay in the chamber until they are removed by your dentist during the root canal. However, this may not be the case if the infection makes its way all the way down to the dental roots. At the very tip of the root sits an opening. This is where the nerves and capillaries reach into the jaw bone and attach to the main nervous and circulatory systems.
Once the tooth infection eats through the tooth nerves, bacteria and pus are free to move through the holes in the dental root. The bacteria and pus can then spread around the tooth and infect the gum tissues in the region. When this happens, an abscess will form. An abscess is a large formation of pus that contains bacteria, white blood cells, dead tissues, and bacterial byproducts.
An abscess can cause dental complications. The abscess itself can and will burst when it becomes too large, and the pus will spread. This can cause another infection in the mouth or throat. Also, your dentist will have a difficult time numbing your infected tooth when an abscess sits close by. You may have what is called a hot tooth condition where your dentist will be unable to provide you with enough lidocaine to properly numb the tissues around the tooth. This occurs when infections are advanced and inflammation is severe.
If you have a hot tooth, your dentist may provide you with a course of antibiotics to control the infection before treatment is provided. Lancing of the abscess may also need to occur, and the root canal will be scheduled after the antibiotics are completed. Your dental professional may also continue with the root canal if sensations are partially numbed. This may be necessary if your dentist is concerned about an infection spreading further, and the treatment can be painful, even though it is necessary.
If you're still hesitant to schedule your root canal, speak with an experienced dentist like Samuel D Knight, DDS. They can explain the process to you and help you understand why shouldn't put the treatment off.