If you have an infected tooth (also called an abscessed tooth), root canal therapy can restore that tooth to full beauty and function. It will alleviate the pain in that tooth. It will stop infection that comes from the tooth. Teeth treated with a root canal can function for a lifetime and may never give any more problems. Many people worry that root canal therapy will be painful, but the truth is that root canal therapy does more to relieve pain than cause it.
Symptoms of an Infected Tooth
If left untreated, a cavity will grow until it penetrates through the outer layers of the tooth to the living part of the tooth, called the pulp. When this happens, the bacteria that caused the decay will infect the pulp chamber. When this occurs, you may notice:
- Severe, lasting pain in the tooth
- Discoloration of the teeth
- Foul breath or taste
- Sores on the gums that are painful and may ooze pus
- Localized warmth
It’s important to note that you can have an infected tooth even if you don’t experience pain. Sometimes the tooth nerve dies before it can cause much discomfort, or maybe it was already dead due to an unrelated cause. The lack of pain doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong, especially if you have other related symptoms.
Discoloration of the tooth is likely caused by the death of the pulp, but it may also be related to tooth trauma, which can bruise the tooth. It may also be related to root resorption.
Most persistent bad breath is related to oral bacteria. It may be infecting your teeth or your gums, but if you have bad breath that isn’t related to food or drink and doesn’t remedy with toothbrushing, you should see a dentist.
Other symptoms of an infected tooth are similar to infections in other parts of the body. You may notice nearby sores which are painful and may ooze pus. The additional activity by bacteria and your immune system can cause localized warmth, and the infection may cause you to run a fever.
If you experience these symptoms, consider it an emergency, and schedule an appointment with your dentist or doctor.
Don’t Postpone Root Canal Therapy
If you have an infected tooth, it’s crucial that you get the tooth treated as soon as possible. Failure to treat an infected tooth can result in:
- Loss of the tooth
- Spread of infection leading to jaw damage and the loss of other teeth
- Systemic infection
- Fatal infection
Tooth infection destroys your tooth from within and then uses the shelter of that tooth to spread infection throughout your mouth and your body. The sooner we can act, the more we can reduce the complications related to your treatment.
Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?
Root canal therapy has a reputation as being a painful procedure. This reputation is outdated–it comes from the time when dental anesthesia was unavailable and unreliable. It often involves removing the remnants of the tooth nerve, which may still be alive. Without anesthesia, this could be painful.
With modern anesthesia, you will likely feel little, if any discomfort during the procedure or shortly afterward. During recovery, most people only experience discomfort that is equal to or less than the discomfort they felt before the procedure. Soon that discomfort resolves, too. Root canal therapy should be known as a relief from pain, not a cause of it.
But we understand that many people may feel anxiety related to the procedure, and we offer sedation dentistry for those who need it to overcome their nervousness.
If you are suffering with an infected tooth, don’t wait to get it treated. Please call (918) 528-3330 today for an appointment at élan by Dr. Meghan Hodges in Tulsa.