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Artistic Expressions Dentistry

Dangers of Root Canal Infections: Basic Patient Information

By Bruce Wilderman on December 12, 2014

A woman smiling in a bright roomDr. Bruce Wilderman has provided patients throughout the greater Philadelphia area with exceptional dental care services. He remains committed to advanced general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry that enhances smiles while improving total wellness. This often means advanced therapies for serious dental health issues, such as root canal infections. We'd like to use this opportunity to consider some of the dangers of root canal infections and why we take them seriously.

What is a root canal infection?

To understand root canal infections, it important to consider the anatomy of the tooth.

Under the enamel layer and dentin layers of the tooth is a hollow chamber that contains dental pulp. This dental pulp is crucial for the tooth's initial formation, containing nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels that nourish the tooth when it's first developing.

A root canal infection refers to the bacterial infection of this internal soft tissue of the tooth. This problem is sometimes referred to as an abscessed tooth if the infection results in a small sore full of pus at the gumline.

Causes of Root Canal Infections

The most common cause of root canal infection is severe tooth decay. Major cavities left untreated allow the bacteria that naturally occurs in the mouth to access the internal pulp chamber. Gum recession and gum disease can make this more likely, as tooth decay can occur right at or below the gumline, attacking a tooth's upper root structure directly.

In addition to tooth decay, major tooth injuries can also lead to root canal infections. In these cases, the major damage to the tooth similarly leads to exposure of the dental pulp to oral bacteria.

Severe Dental Pain Is Common

One of the common dangers of root canal infections is severe toothaches and dental pain. An infected tooth hurts, and the discomfort can prove debilitating to many patients.

You Run the Risk of Necessary Tooth Extraction

If your infected tooth is the source of major pain and other dental problems, another danger to consider is the need for extraction. In these cases, the tooth is beyond saving and the only solution in the interest of your health is to remove your tooth entirely.

The Dental Infection May Spread

Perhaps the biggest danger is the spread of the root canal infection to other parts of your mouth. This means the potential of bacteria infecting your other teeth, your gum tissue, and even the jawbone. This leads to far worse health problems than just an infected tooth.

Root Canal Therapy: The Way to Save the Tooth

The most effective option for treating the infection and saving your tooth as a whole is root canal therapy. This involves the removal of the dental pulp, the sterilization of the pulp chamber, and the filling of the pulp chamber with an inert material. The tooth will be technically dead since the pulp is gone, but your tooth will be saved and the infection will be under control.

Tips for Preventing Root Canal Infections

In order to prevent root canal infections from occurring, we recommend the following basic tips:

  • Wear mouth protection when applicable
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss your teeth at least once a night
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups

Schedule a Consultation at Artistic Expressions Dentistry

If you would like to learn more about root canal infections and how our team can improve your overall dental health, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. Wilderman and our entire team look forward to your visit and helping you achieve the best dental health possible.

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