If you’ve been struggling with tooth pain because of an infection, a root canal procedure offers the best road to relief. In fact, each year in the United States, dentists perform more than 14 million root canal procedures, helping their patients restore their dental health and, perhaps more important, prevent larger problems down the road.
Here at Houston Precise Dental Care, with Dr. Joe Eckford Jr. leading our team, we’ve helped many of our Houston area patients put an end to tooth pain through our root canal procedures. We understand the pain and urgency of timely treatment and we use the most advanced tools to ensure that your treatment is successful.
If you need a root canal procedure, here’s what you can expect.
Root canal 101
Before we get into how we treat an infection in your root canal, let’s take a quick look at the structure we’re talking about. Inside your teeth is a substance called pulp, which contains living connective tissues that produce dentin, blood vessels that deliver nourishment, and nerves that carry sensory messages to your brain (hence the pain when it’s infected!).
Your pulp is housed in a narrow passageway called the root canal, which begins at tiny openings in the bottom of your tooth root, which is the two-pronged structure that anchors your tooth into the jawbone. The canal runs through the center of both sides of the tooth root, then the two sides meet in a small chamber at the top of the root.
Although your pulp was originally responsible for keeping your tooth vital and healthy during its growth stage, a fully mature tooth can survive without the pulp because it’s nourished by your surrounding tissues.
The onset of infection
Normally your pulp is protected by the hard enamel on the outside of your tooth and cementum, which is the bone-like tissue covering the root. If your enamel is damaged because of tooth decay, dental work, or an injury, bacteria can find its way into your pulp and cause an infection.
The signs of a root canal infection
There are many red flags that indicate that an infection may be brewing inside your pulp, chief among them:
An infection in your pulp typically causes excruciating pain because of the sensitive nerves in the area. And this pain isn’t going away either — it only gets worse as the infection grows. Severe pain is also a potential sign that an abscess has formed at the bottom of your tooth root, which carries the potential of entering your bloodstream.
Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
One of the earliest signs of a budding infection occurs when an opening in your tooth enamel causes extreme sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
Small bump on your gum
If you have a small area of redness or swelling on your gum or you’re able to feel a tiny bump in the gum just above your tooth, these are potential signs of an infection. This little lump is a collection of pus that often develops before you begin to feel pain.
If your tooth suddenly becomes discolored, it’s a sign that infection is spreading through the tooth.
Root canal procedure basics
When you come in for a root canal procedure, we ensure that you’re fully anesthetized before we begin.
Once you’re ready, we make a tiny opening in your tooth enamel through which we remove all of the infected tissue. After thoroughly disinfecting your root canal, we fill it with a rubbery tissue and put a filling in the opening.
If your outer enamel is intact and strong, the root canal procedure is all the treatment you need. When the outer tooth is damaged or weak, we cover it with a crown to protect your tooth from future infections and to restore full function to your tooth.
If you’d like to find relief from your root canal infection, please give us a call so we can put an end to your pain. Or you can use the online scheduling tool on this website to set up an appointment.