If you've been experiencing a toothache or tooth sensitivity and you've put off going to the dentist, it's possible an infection has spread to the pulp of your tooth. If you have swelling in the area of the toothache or pus coming from your gums, that's a good sign you have an infected tooth and need immediate treatment. When the pulp of your tooth is infected, your dentist will probably need to do a root canal and then put on a crown to save from pulling the tooth. Here's why.
A Root Canal Removes Infected Tissue
A root canal removes dead pulp tissue. The pulp of your tooth can die or become inflamed or infected due to bacteria that reaches it through a cavity or crack in your enamel. It's also possible to damage your pulp in an accident. When the pulp dies, it has to be removed to get the infection out of your body. If you don't do that, the infection could spread to your heart or other tissues and cause even more serious problems.
There are two ways to get rid of dead tooth pulp. One is to pull out the tooth taking the pulp with it, and the other is to scrape out the infected pulp in a root canal procedure that leaves the tooth behind. First, your dentist must decide if your tooth can heal with just a filling. This can be determined by taking images of your tooth and by asking about your pain and other symptoms. If you have frequent or constant pain that isn't necessarily caused by drinking something cold, or if you have an obvious infection that leaks pus, your pulp may be beyond saving.
The first thing your dentist will probably do when you go in for a toothache from an infected tooth is to prescribe antibiotics to kill off the infection and to reduce your pain. Then, the root canal can be scheduled at a convenient time. You may need multiple treatments to complete the procedure because all of the infection has to be cleared out before the canal is sealed shut. You'll be numbed for the procedure, so you won't be in any more pain than you would be for any other dental procedure.
A Crown Protects Your Tooth Enamel
A root canal is often topped with a crown. One reason might be because you have a large cavity that won't hold on to a filling. Another reason is because without a fully functioning tooth, the enamel of your tooth can become brittle and chip easily. Chipping and cracking can be prevented by topping the root canal with a crown. If the tooth is a front tooth, the crown can be made of porcelain so it looks natural.
A root canal is usually a better choice than pulling the tooth since you need all your teeth to eat and speak properly. Saving a tooth is a good decision so you can keep your teeth for as long as possible and avoid the need for dentures or expensive implants. Speak to a dentist to learn more about root canals.