In the US alone, there are around 15 million root canal procedures every year. Despite this, the number of root canal infections is incredibly small.
But when that happens, it can be a serious cause for concern. So what is a root canal infection, and how serious is it? Is there anything that you, or your dentist, can do to stop it?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about this infection, what they are, what they can do to you, and how they can be treated.
What Is a Root Canal Infection?
A root canal infection is a serious dental condition that can result in pain, tooth loss, and other serious health problems.
The pulp is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. It is what gives the tooth its strength and vitality. When the pulp becomes infected, it can no longer perform its functions, and the tooth begins to die.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that extracts the damaged pulp of a tooth. Once done, it will be cleaned and sealed.
This procedure is often necessary when a tooth is severely decayed or infected. They are done by dental specialists who focus on this type of treatment. The treatment usually takes one or two visits, depending on the severity of the damage.
After a root canal, your tooth may be weaker and more prone to breakage. To help protect it, your dentist may recommend placing a crown over the tooth. For more information, you can check the root canal complete guide.
Symptoms of Root Canal Infections
An abscess is one of the most common symptoms of a root canal infection. It is a pocket of pus that forms at the end of an infected tooth. It is usually accompanied by severe toothache, swelling, and fever.
Other symptoms may include sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, pain when chewing, swelling of the gums, bad taste in the mouth, and bad breath.
If you think you may have an infection, it is important to see a dentist right away. If left untreated, a root canal infection can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious health problems.
What Causes Root Canal Infections?
Root canal infections occur when the pulp inside the tooth becomes infected. The infection can be caused by a number of things, including a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, or an injury to the tooth.
The main cause of root canal infections is bacteria. It can enter the tooth through a cavity or crack, and then reproduce quickly.
The bacteria release toxins that damage the tissue around the tooth. This can eventually lead to an infection.
Another cause of infections is trauma to the tooth. This can include anything from a blunt force injury to the tooth to a crack or chip in the tooth. A damaged tooth can allow bacteria to enter the tooth and cause an infection.
When you have dental work done, whether it’s a simple filling or an extensive root canal, your mouth is more vulnerable to infection. That’s because when your dentist drills into your tooth, they are potentially opening up a pathway for bacteria to enter.
Tooth decay is also one of the main reasons for root canal infections. When decay reaches the nerve tissue of the tooth, it can cause an infection.
Treatment of Root Canal Infection
Once a root canal infection has been diagnosed, the dentist will create a treatment plan. This plan will likely involve a root canal procedure. This will remove the infected tissue from inside the tooth.
This is done by drilling a small hole in the tooth and then removing the pulp with a tiny instrument. The tooth is then filled with a special material and sealed.
A root canal infection can also be treated with antibiotics. This treatment will kill the bacteria that is causing the infection.
How Can I Prevent a Root Canal Infection?
The best way to prevent a root canal infection is to keep your teeth and gums healthy. This means brushing and flossing regularly, and getting professional cleanings and checkups as recommended by your dentist.
If you have any dental work done, be sure to follow all aftercare instructions and keep the area clean. Avoid chewing hard food or using your teeth as tools.
Quit smoking, as it can increase your risk of developing an infection. Finally, if you have any tooth pain, be sure to see your dentist right away. Treatment is much more effective when an infection is caught early.
If you take good care of your teeth and see your dentist regularly, you can help prevent a root canal infection.
Complications of Root Canal Infections
Root canal infections are serious and can cause complications if not treated. They can lead to abscesses, which are pus-filled pockets that form around the tooth. Abscesses can be very painful and can cause the tooth to fall out.
If the infection spreads to the jaw, it can cause a condition called osteomyelitis, which is an infection of the bone. Osteomyelitis can be very painful and can require surgery to treat. If not treated, root canal infections can also lead to sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by infection.
Root Canal Should Relieve Pain, Not Cause It
A root canal infection can happen due to decay, a crack in the tooth, or an injury. The infection can cause pain, swelling, and inflammation.
If left untreated, it can lead to more serious problems. If you think you may have this infection, see your dentist as soon as possible. With prompt treatment, it can be resolved and you can avoid further complications.
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