Retaining Healthy Teeth

Root Canal Therapy Decatur

A middle-aged man with grayed hair wearing a salmon shirt smiling.Paramount in general dentistry is the maintenance, preservation, and protection of a patient’s natural teeth whenever possible. Root canal therapy, or endodontics, is the treatment and removal of damaged tissue within a tooth’s inner cavity, or root canal, to salvage a natural tooth that has endured severe decay or trauma. For more information on root canal therapy, contact our practice today.

Root Canal Therapy

Root canals are a good treatment option for patients who have:

  • A large amount of decay on a tooth or teeth currently.
  • A  history of severe decay that has left a tooth or teeth weakened structurally and functionally.
  • Several or large fillings comprising a large portion of a tooth.
  • Experienced trauma causing bleeding and damage within the tooth's root.

In all living teeth, there is a hollow chamber which contains a mass of nerves and blood vessels called a dental pulp. If the tooth is damaged due to decay or trauma it may affect this dental pulp. Once this pulp has become infected or diseased patients may experience pain or sensitivity to temperature. If left untreated the tooth may die and eventually lead to an abscess. This is when the pain can become severe and cause swelling as well.

The purpose of a root canal is to save a tooth from needing to be extracted. During a root canal procedure, the damaged or dead pulp within the root canal is removed and any decayed tooth material is removed. The tooth is then sealed and usually covered with a dental crown. Root canal therapy is a more conservative treatment than the removal and subsequent replacement of the tooth with a dental implant or bridge, and has proven successful in 94 percent of our cases.

The Benefits Root Canal Treatment

While it is a serious dental procedure, root canal therapy is preferable to tooth extraction. Left untreated, bacteria cause irritation and pain within the tooth’s inner cavity, and causing bleeding and sensitivity in surrounding tissue. Eventually, as a cavity spreads within the dentin of teeth, bacteria will cause irritation around the tissues of the tooth, spreading infection and compromising surrounding teeth.

Dental health directly affects overall health. An infected, decaying tooth sends infection and bacteria into the rest of the body. Research has shown poor oral health, such as that which leads to root canal infection, can contribute to heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease, and glycemic issues in diabetes. It is important that patients maintain regular dental hygienic visits to catch an endangered root quickly, and keep a regular dental hygiene regimen at home to prevent the buildup of plaque bacteria to begin with.

Root canal therapy is beneficial because it saves the natural tooth, often circumventing the need for a much more serious surgery, at least for several years. The pain and discomfort that come with an infected tooth root are eliminated as well, and most patients retain normal functionality with their treated teeth.

The Symptoms of Root Canal Infection

Although unnoticeable to the eye during its beginning stages, there are several warning signs that a root canal may be compromised. They include:

  • Toothache – A sign for many dental ailments, a toothache that starts when a patient applies biting pressure to a certain tooth while biting, or just begins to hurt on its own, may be a sign of an infected tooth. As the infection increases, often, so does the pain.
  • A sore or inflammation on gums – If an abscess or infection has reached the surface of the gum, it may materialize in the form of a bubble or bump-like sore on the gum.
  • Swelling - Spontaneous swelling in a localized area with or without pain is an indicator of infection.
  • Sensitivity to temperature – Often the first sign of a tooth that is in trouble may be strong sensitivity to cold or heat, sometimes both.
  • Loosened tooth – If an infection has compromised the strength of the bond between the tooth and the bone that holds it firm, the tooth may begin to feel loose or mobile.
  • Discoloration in gums or tooth If the dental pulp within the tooth dies, it may cause the tooth to appear darker over time.

Each of these symptoms may be indicators of serious oral health problems. Patients should visit Georgia Dental Center as soon as possible to prevent further issues and correct problems as soon as possible. For more information on root canal infection, treatment, causes and symptoms, please contact us to schedule a consultation at our Decatur offices today.