The dental pulp is the soft tissue found beneath the enamel and dentin of the tooth. It contains the blood vessels and nerves that serve the tooth. The pulp can become infected by the penetration of bacteria. Bacteria can gain entrance into the pulp through persistent caries, a leaky filling, or teeth that are broken or cracked from trauma. The infiltration of bacteria into the pulp could lead to abscess formation or pulpal inflammation, which is also known as pulpitis. With an infected pulp, there is increased tooth sensitivity characterized by pain. With a proper history and examination, dental professionals at Peninsula Family Dental Center can diagnose and adequately manage pulpitis in any age group.
Symptoms of a Pulpal Infection
With regular trips to the dental clinic, pulp infection can easily be detected. Pulpitis presents with varying symptoms. These symptoms include increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods, an excruciating toothache, and tooth sensitivity to pressure while biting and chewing. With irreversible pulpitis, there could be an onset of more symptoms such as tender and swollen lymph nodes in the face and neck region, facial swelling, fever, difficulty swallowing, and sometimes difficulty breathing. At this stage, the pain can be referred to the neck, jawbone, and/or ear. The toothache graduates from mild when the site of infection is small to sharp when the abscess enlarges. If the abscess at the site of infection comes to the surface, there could be a foul taste in the mouth and bad breath.
How Is a Root Canal Done?
The root canal procedure is usually carried out by an endodontist, who is a dental professional who has undergone specialized training to prevent, diagnose, manage, and treat pathologies relating to the pulp of the tooth. The endodontist examines and takes a radiograph of your tooth. The radiograph enables him or her to view the extent of the inflammation and to know if the surrounding bone is involved. Thereafter, the endodontist gives a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and the surrounding gums. Then, the endodontist places a dental dam to shield the teeth from saliva and keep it clean during the procedure. An opening is then made in the crown of the tooth by drilling. The pulp and the root canals are cleaned, removing the inflamed tissue in the process, and reshaped using root canal files. Sodium hypochlorite or water is sprayed in the tooth to wash away debris.
After this, the pulp cavity and root canals are filled with gutta-percha, which is a bio-compatible rubber-like material, and an adhesive. The adhesive aids the sealing of the root canals. If required, the endodontist might place an appropriate medication in the tooth. The opening made on the crown is usually filled with a temporary filling. Another visit needs to be made to the dental office so you can have the crown or other restorations put in place to restore the normal shape and functionality of the tooth.
Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of pulpitis prevent the rupturing of abscesses and hinder the further spread of the infection. If left untreated, pulpitis can lead to serious consequences, including purulent sinusitis, meningitis, or a brain abscess. To book a root canal appointment today, contact Peninsula Family Dental Center by calling (907) 283-9125 today.