Root Canal Therapy
When your teeth are damaged, it is important that they be treated right away. Leaving damage untreated can quickly allow for an infection to develop in the vulnerable interior of the affected tooth, which can be both painful and dangerous. If an infection does develop, Smiles of Tulsa can treat the affected tooth, and restore your oral health, with a root canal.
How Do Teeth Get Infected?Infections are caused when bacteria get inside of a tooth. While your teeth look fairly simple from the outside, they are quite complex. You only see the enamel layer, or the hard, protective exterior. Under the enamel is the dentin, which contains a series of hollow canals that lead to the roots of the teeth. After the dentin is a chamber the houses the pulp. The pulp is soft tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves. If your teeth are damaged or decayed, a pathway can be made to the inner layers of the teeth. Bacteria can enter through this pathway and take up residence inside. Once there, they begin to attack the pulp, causing irritation, inflammation, and a significant amount of pain. If an infection develops, the only way to treat the tooth is with a root canal.
How Do I Know if I Have an Infected Tooth?There are numerous symptoms that can point toward an infection inside of your tooth. These symptoms include:
Diagnosing an InfectionWhen you notice any symptoms of an infection, it is important that you seek treatment immediately. We can provide a thorough oral exam, complete with a visual inspection of your teeth and gums as well as dental X-rays. X-rays are a crucial tool in the diagnosis of an infection. They allow us to see damage below the gum line, bone loss in your jaw, and even abscesses. An abscess is one of the most obvious signs of an infection. It forms around bacteria as they spill out through the root of the tooth into the jawbone, attempting to contain them. Over time, an abscess can continue to grow in size, and may even burst.
The Root Canal ProcedureA root canal is typically done under a local anesthetic, although sedation can be provided if necessary. The treatment begins with a small access hole being drilled into the top of the tooth. We then use small tools to remove the pulp and the nerve. The canals are shaped, making them easier to clean. The interior of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. We seal the space inside with a material called gutta percha. This material effectively seals the canals, protecting them from new bacteria. Finally, a crown is placed over the tooth, providing it with both strengths as well as protection against new infection.
If you suspect that you might have an infection inside your tooth, it is imperative that you seek treatment right away. To schedule your consultation, call Smiles of Tulsa today at (918) 891-3059.