Incredible pain in the jaw accompanied by swelling and a sensitive tooth usually means only one thing – a severely infected tooth. Neglecting cavities can lead to this scenario time and again. What began as a small hole in the tooth enamel can end up costing you plenty in terms of comfort alone. Pain this severe does not always mean the tooth needs to be removed. Root canal therapy is often used to save an infected tooth.
Decay begins on the surface of the tooth and eats away at the enamel until it reaches the inner part of the tooth called the dentin. This layer is softer than the outside, thus decay can spread faster. The pulp is in the center of the tooth. Here the nerves provide nourishment to the tooth, but when decay attacks the pulp, the nerves begin to die.
Sometimes discomfort can be felt when the dentin begins to decay. The tooth may become sensitive to hot or cold foods and beverages. By the time the pulp is involved, the tooth may be very sensitive even to touch. Pressure caused by eating or even touching with the tongue can cause severe throbbing pain. Removing the nerve and eliminating the infection by way of root canal therapy can save the tooth.
When a tooth is infected, the body’s natural defenses try to eliminate the decay. In the process, toxins are formed which cause an abscess to form at the root apex. The area begins to swell as the abscess enlarges, and surrounding tissues become irritated. Root canal therapy offers relief by removing the dead tissue and infection.
Advancements in dental technology have made root canal therapy painless in most situations. The root canal is meticulously cleaned out and sterilized. A special filling material is put into the canal to seal it off and prevent bacteria from entering. Once the canal is sealed, the remainder of the tooth is filled with amalgam or composite. To strengthen the weakened tooth, your dentist may suggest that it be crowned.
Do not wait until you feel pain before getting your teeth examined. If you do have a toothache, be sure to get it examined right away. Saving your tooth depends on immediate treatment. Neglecting your tooth can lead to its eventual loss. Contact Rock Point Family Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.