Maybe you woke up with a swollen jaw. Perhaps you recently developed a toothache. These may be symptoms of a dental abscess, or infected tooth. When a tooth is infected, there are usually only two treatment options: extraction or root canal therapy.
At Artistic Expressions Dentistry in Philadelphia, PA, our team discusses root canal treatment for a dental abscess and explains how this procedure can preserve your smile and your oral health.
What Is a Dental Abscess?
In simple terms, an abscess is a pocket of pus around a tooth root. This is generally caused by deep decay or a large fracture. It occurs when bacteria breach the pulp chamber, the innermost layer of a tooth.
There are certain risk factors that make dental abscesses more likely. For example, individuals who frequently consume foods and beverages with high sugar content are more likely to develop an abscess. In addition, poor dental hygiene can increase your risk for the condition.
Symptoms of a Dental Abscess
A dental abscess can cause a number of symptoms. Some of the most common include:
- Swelling of the jaw, face, or neck
- Inflammation of gums in the area
- Heat and cold sensitivity
- Tenderness when biting down or putting pressure on the tooth
- Swollen or sore lymph nodes
- Sudden bad breath or bad taste
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, schedule a consultation with your dentist right away. It is also important to note that there are not always obvious warning signs. Therefore, routine dental checkups are extremely important.
About Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment eliminates infection at the source and protects your overall oral health. To perform this treatment, Dr. Wilderman will numb the affected tooth with local anesthesia.
Once you are comfortable, he will create a tiny hole in the top of the tooth. This will allow access to the internal structures. Next, the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues inside the tooth will be removed and the surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected.
Once this step is complete, the root canals and chamber are filled, and the tooth is sealed off to reduce the risk of bacterial recontamination.
In many cases, a dental crown is also recommended, especially if the affected tooth has been significantly weakened or compromised. Typically, root canal therapy can be completed in one or two office visits, depending on the needs of the individual.
Benefits of Root Canal Treatment
The most obvious benefit of root canal treatment is that it can save an infected tooth from extraction. Once the infection is eliminated, the tooth can provide normal function. Furthermore, root canal therapy can prevent the infection from spreading to adjacent teeth and the rest of the body.
There is a common misconception that root canal therapy is uncomfortable. However, patients who undergo this treatment report near immediate relief from their dental pain. At our practice, Dr. Wilderman uses the gentlest techniques available so you can return to your normal routines as soon as possible.
Contact Artistic Expressions Dentistry Today
If you have a painful dental abscess, schedule a visit at our practice today. We can help determine the cause of your discomfort and recommend appropriate treatment. Contact us online or give us a call at (215) 340-1199.