Root Canals & Abscesses?

When a tooth needs a root canal it’s because the tooth pulp inside has become infected. If left untreated, tooth decay can permanently damage the tooth or even cause the tooth to die.

If you have a persistent toothache and suspect you need a root canal, we recommend you contact an Grand Rapids emergency dentist near you.

In this blog post, we will explain how your tooth might have become abscessed and the kind of restorative dentistry needed to save an abscessed tooth.

What is an Abscessed Tooth?

You’ll know your tooth is abscessed when you feel an ache in the bone around the tooth. Other symptoms of an abscessed tooth include swelling or redness of the gums, painful gums, fever, and having a bad taste in your mouth. If you recognize these signs you need a root canal, we recommend calling your dentist to schedule an emergency appointment.

Abscessed teeth happen when your tooth has decayed enough for infection to breach the dental pulp inside your tooth. Once the tooth pulp is infected, it can create an abscess in the gums around the tooth. An abscess is a swollen area in your gums that contains pus.

If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can cause the tooth and jawbone to deteriorate, creating further pain and damage to your smile. The abscess can also push the tooth upwards, making it looser and more vulnerable to falling out.

What Damages Tooth Pulp?

Tooth pulp is the live tissue inside your teeth. Most of us can go for years without even thinking about tooth pulp until you experience dental discomfort or pain. Tooth pulp can become infected or inflamed when the tooth undergoes repeated dental procedures. Tooth injuries (such as cracks and chips) and severe tooth decay can also damage the dental pulp in your teeth.

What Happens During a Root Canal Procedure?

The treatment for an abscessed tooth depends on its severity. If you catch an abscessed tooth in its early stages, your dentist can treat it with antibiotics or by draining the pus. However, if the tooth becomes infected, your dentist will need to do root canal therapy to save the tooth from dying. Your dentist will be able to walk you through the root canal treatment steps so you know what to expect.

The first thing your root canal dentist will do is locally anesthetize the area around the tooth so you don’t experience any pain during the procedure. Next, your Grand Rapids dentist will use a small drill or other dental tool to create a small hole near the top of the infected tooth. Through this hole, your dentist will be able to access the inside of your tooth to clear away the damaged and diseased dental pulp.

For good measure, your dentist may flush the inside of the tooth with water and an antimicrobial solution to make sure any remaining pulp is removed. The root canal procedure usually takes two visits to the dentist. A temporary filling is used to seal the hole until your permanent root canal crown is ready to be placed. The permanent crown will be placed when you come back for your second appointment.

Dr. Ritzema DDS at Complete Health Dentistry does everything in his power to save an abscessed tooth. If you have a severe toothache and suspect you need an emergency root canal, be sure to call our Grand Rapids family dentist at (616) 458-7267.