A root canal infection refers to an infection of the soft tissue inside of a tooth. You see, inside of each tooth is a hollow chamber that is filled with a substance known as dental pulp. This dental pulp is comprised of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. This dental pulp was essential for the initial formation of a tooth. The dental pulp can become infected as a result of severe tooth decay, fractured teeth, and severe gum disease.
If a root canal infection occurs, our East Honolulu, HI practice can treat it with root canal therapy (endodontic treatment). Let’s take a moment to consider the dangers of an untreated root canal infection and how we can help if you have a dental emergency involving an infected tooth.
What Happens If a Root Canal Infection Goes Untreated
If the pulp inside of a tooth becomes infected, it can lead to severe pain and discomfort. If the infection is not treated in a timely manner, it can spread to other parts of the mouth, resulting in severe health issues. A root canal infection could go untreated for days, making the need for an emergency root canal more likely.
Ideally, root canal therapy should be performed as soon as possible in order to avoid the need for tooth extraction.
The Root Canal Procedure
During a root canal, your dentist will work urgently to remove the infected dental pulp and sterilize the pulp chamber. This helps kill any remaining bacteria that could cause further infection after the treatment is performed.
Once the dental pulp is removed, the tooth is then filled with an inert material. This material helps keep the rest of the tooth structure sturdy, allowing you to continue biting and chewing without fear of damage. While the tooth is technically dead, it will remain in place and be fully functional.
Same-Day Dental Crowns
In most practices, the root canal procedure involves placing a temporary crown over the treated tooth; the temporary crown would be replaced with a permanent crown about a week later. At our practice, we use CEREC® technology, which means a tooth-colored permanent crown can be created on-site on the same day as your visit.
There is no need to wait and return just to finish an emergency root canal. Thanks to the 3D mapping and rotation of the CEREC® system, we can create, fit, and place a custom crown just for you to conclude the root canal treatment process.
Recovering from a Root Canal Treatment
After undergoing a root canal, patients will notice serious discomfort around the treated teeth. This pain is most pronounced in the first few days of treatment, but it will subside. Take your prescription pain relievers as directed while you are recovering. These will help make the healing process easier. Using a cold compress against your face where the root canal was performed is also helpful. Be sure to use the compress for about 15-20, leave it off for 15-20 minutes, and then repeat as needed.
While the pain after a root canal is a challenge, it is far less of an issue as the pain you would experience if the infection was not treated at all.
Learn More About Root Canal Therapy
For more information about root canal therapy and how it can help you experience improved and restored dental health, be sure to contact an experienced dentist. We will work with you and respond to dental health emergencies as they arise.