Infection and Root Canal Treatment

Tooth Abscess

An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms at the root of the tooth due to a bacterial infection. If left untreated, the abscess can possibly spread to other areas, causing severe consequences to your overall health.

The infection usually originates from the inner pulp of the tooth, and can be caused by tooth decay and dental trauma. As the infection spreads, your body forms a sac around it to attempt to contain it, which creates pressure and painful sensations.

Signs and symptoms that you have an abscess can include a consistent throbbing toothache, fever, swelling of the face, gums, or jaw, foul-smelling breath, and pain when chewing. You may also experience a foul taste in your mouth if the abscess is draining pus.

An abscess will not heal on its own and if left untreated, the infection can spread to the jaw bone and other parts of the head and neck. If allowed to expand, it can also weaken the jaw as it begins to resorb and replace bony tissue.

Abscesses are very serious so it is critical to work closely with Dr. Dyras or Hutcheson to treat it as early as possible to minimize the potential for harm.

Dental Health and Root Canals

A root canal is needed when the nerve of a tooth has become damaged by injury or infected by decay. In situations where the crown of the tooth is heavily damaged or decayed, this may include rebuilding the tooth with a post and a crown to restore it to optimal appearance and function.

What is the purpose of a root canal?

A tooth's nerve is not vitally important to a tooth's health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory – to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.

When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it is detrimental to your overall health. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.

What are the signs that a root canal is needed?

Teeth that require root canal therapy are not always painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include severe toothache, pain upon chewing or application of pressure, prolonged sensitivity or pain in response to hot and cold temperatures, a dark discoloration of the tooth, and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.

What happens during a root canal?

For the first step of this procedure, Dr. Dyras or Hutcheson numbs the area around your tooth, removes any decayed tooth material, and creates a channel to access the root's interior. Dr. Dyras or Hutcheson will then remove the infected nerve tissue from the root, and flush and clean the area.

Next, the root is filled with a special sealing material, and a supporting post or posts are placed inside the tooth.  The tooth interior is then built up with composite, which is bonded and hardened using a special curing light.

With the tooth built up and cured, Dr. Dyras or Hutcheson will finish preparing the tooth for the crown. An impression is taken of the prepared tooth and sent to a dental laboratory. A temporary crown is put in place while the final version is being crafted.

At a subsequent appointment, Dr. Dyras or Hutcheson will remove the temporary crown and replace it with the final restoration. Once completed, your tooth is now restored to optimal shape and function.