If you have an infected tooth that’s causing a lot of pain, you might want to just pull the tooth out and be done with it. But, if possible, you should always try to save your tooth with a root canal.
Although root canals often get a bad rap, they’re not as bad as they sound, especially when performed by an expert like Linda Westmoreland, DDS at Wedgewood Dental.
Untreated tooth infections may lead to tooth loss
Below your tooth’s enamel and dentin is the pulp, an area that contains connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. Your pulp tissue can become infected or inflamed if a tooth suffers trauma, such as a crack or from untreated tooth decay.
Damage to your enamel, whether it’s from trauma or decay, makes it easier for bacteria to penetrate the surface and reach the pulp. If left untreated, tooth infections can damage your pulp beyond repair and even lead to bone loss, which makes it harder to save your tooth.
That’s why you should promptly handle a tooth infection if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Tooth pain when eating or drinking
- Inflamed gums
- Sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures
- Bad breath
- Aches and pain in your mouth and jaw
- A pimple-like bump on your gum
If you experience any of these symptoms, visit Wedgewood Dental. With Dr. Westmoreland’s 20 years of experience in the field, she can fully restore your tooth and prevent permanent tooth loss.
Remove the infection and save your tooth with a root canal
The only way to completely treat a tooth infection is to tackle the source: the bacteria in your pulp. Antibiotics can kill bacteria that cause tooth infections, but they can’t repair your tooth or protect the pulp. The infection can come back because your pulp is still exposed, and our mouths have an abundance of bacteria ready to attack it. But a root canal can prevent this from happening.
What to expect during a root canal
Despite what you have heard, root canals aren’t as bad as they sound. Dr. Westmoreland and her team can ensure your procedure is pain-free.
During your initial visit, Dr. Westmoreland takes an X-ray of your infected tooth. This allows her to get a better look at how much damage your tooth has, and to see if the infection has spread beyond your tooth.
She then administers a local anesthetic to numb your tooth and the surrounding area. Once the anesthesia kicks in, we put a dental dam, a small sheet of rubber, around your tooth to keep out saliva and other potential contaminants.
Dr. Westmoreland makes a small opening in your tooth and starts removing the bacteria and the infected pulp, damaged tissue, and other debris, stopping the infection at its core. Once all the infected tissue is removed, we thoroughly rinse and disinfect your tooth.
The final step of a root canal depends on the severity of damage to your tooth’s surface. If your tooth has minor decay, we fill the cavity with a filling and you’re free to go.
But if your surface damage is too big for a filling, you may need to follow up with Dr. Westmoreland and have a crown placed over your tooth to fully restore it.
Getting a root canal at the first sign of infection increases the chances of saving your tooth. If you think you have a tooth infection, get in touch with Wedgewood Dental to schedule a consultation.