A root canal is the space within a toot that consists of the pulp chamber, the main canal and anatomical branches that connect the root canals to each other or to the surface of the root. In some cases, root canals may become infected, and the treatment is necessary to provide relief from the pain and to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it. If a root canal becomes badly damaged, the only alternative to root canal treatment is extraction of the damaged tooth and replacing it with a dental implant, bridge or Removable partial denture.
Root Canal Infection Causes
Root canal infection is a common dental health problem that can be caused by various things. Most commonly, the infection occurs when the bacteria enter the root canal or pulp chamber. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the soft core called dental pulp, inside of the tooth. This usually happens because of the tooth decay, but other conditions such as various gum diseases, injuries to the teeth or repeated dental procedures can also result in root canal infections. When the infection occurs the bacteria and other decayed food particles can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. If this happens, the infection spreads all the way to the roots of the tooth and results in many highly unpleasant and often painful symptoms.
Symptoms of root canal infection
Infected root canals usually manifest in local swelling that may spread to broader areas of the face, neck or head. In many cases, bone loss around the tip of the root is also visible. Patient may also complain about dental pain, especially after eating or drinking. Teeth may be sensitive to pressure, and pain may occur even while biting or chewing. Other symptoms include darkening of the tooth, waking up at night because of the toothache, swelling of the gums, radiating pain from one tooth to the upper regions of the jaw.
Root Canal Therapy
Treatment of root canal infections was until recently a painful and complicated procedure. Advanced dental techniques and application of local anesthesia made it possible to have little if any pain with a root canal procedure. During the treatment, doctor will remove unhealthy pulp and any existing fillings or decay. The pulp will be removed from root canals, and they will be completely cleaned and disinfected. Dentist will probably put some medications into the pulp chamber to kill the remaining bacteria and prevent the infection. When everything is set, the pulp chamber and root canals will be filled and sealed, and a crown is fabricated to complete the rescue and restoration of the natural tooth.