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Sometimes, a root canal infection can spike in a very unexpected moment. When this time comes, there is a wide variety of symptoms that you can encounter. If you are experiencing severe tooth pain that progresses and becomes intolerable, you may need an emergency root canal treatment.

Our emergency dentist in Adelaide can provide you with professional dental care even at the most unexpected times. Our clinic is open after hours to help deliver immediate care in every dental emergency.

This article will discuss all you need to know about root canal infection and what you should do if you have one.


What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is the internal part of our teeth located between the root and pulp. Each root canal contains a network of nerves and blood vessels. The blood vessels are primarily responsible for delivering nutrition to the teeth and nerves. On the other hand, the nerves can send signals to your brain, capable of influencing various sensations.


What Is the Connection Between Tooth Decay and Root Canal Infection?

infection signs of root canalTooth decay is the most common precursor for a root canal infection. When a person develops tooth decay, the problem progresses and starts to reach the inner layers of the teeth. If a patient with tooth decay does not seek immediate dental treatment, it may lead to a dental abscess. Infection can spread to the surrounding areas of the teeth, including the root canal, gums, and jawbones. The immune system will become weak, and surrounding tissues will be at risk.

A root canal infection caused by tooth decay is difficult to identify, especially when there are less obvious signs. If you want to figure out whether your tooth requires a root canal treatment, it is best to consult an experienced dental professional.


How Can You Identify A Root Canal Infection?

It is essential to familiarise yourself with the warning signs of a root canal infection. By knowing its symptoms, you can act as soon as possible and prevent further damages.


Tooth Pain

An infected root canal usually causes acute pain that comes from the inner layers of the tooth. As the root canal contains nerves, it can be susceptible. You should immediately seek emergency treatment if your pain becomes unbearable.

However, pain in your tooth does not always mean that you have a root canal infection. Other reasons may cause intense tooth pain, such as gum disease, sinus infection, tooth fracture, and many more. It is always best to ask your dentist’s advice before having a root canal treatment to avoid wasting your time and money.


Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity characterises a sharp or dull pain caused by various factors. The presence of an underlying condition leads to discomfort that lasts for several weeks up to months. While some can identify which tooth experiences sensitivity, there are also instances where the source is difficult to distinguish. Here are some examples where sensitivity might be due to a root canal infection:

  • Sensitivity when chewing food
  • Sharp pain when you breathe through your mouth
  • Discomfort occurs when you put pressure on the area
  • Thermal stimuli when drinking hot or cold water
  • A spontaneous spike of sensitivity on the tooth
  • A pulsing sensation that is either continuous or intermittent


Gum Inflammation and Tenderness

Experts often associate swelling with an underlying disease. It can come in different forms and look normal in some cases. When a feeling of tenderness accompanies gum inflammation, it can be a sign of an infection that is building up along your root canal. To make sure that you need a root canal treatment, here are some symptoms to identify:

  • Long-lasting swelling and inflammation
  • Presence of a pimple-like boil in the gums
  • A pronounced tenderness
  • A tooth that feels heavier than adjacent teeth


Bad Breath

An acute apical abscess is the last stage of tooth decay. It can cause a formation of bacteria that leads to an unpleasant odour and taste. It is necessary to stop the progression of harmful bacteria that emits a foul smell. A root canal treatment is needed to scrape off the pus-filled pockets and drain the source of infection.


Tooth Discoloration

If a tooth individually develops a grey, blue, or dark yellow tone, it can be a sign of a root canal infection. Luckily, tooth discolouration is very easy to identify. The changes in your tooth colour generally indicate a pathological change inside your teeth. A darker-coloured tooth usually means that its nerves are severely infected. Root canal treatment can help resolve this issue and regenerate dying nerves.


What Is A Root Canal Treatment?

correcting root canal infectionIt is necessary to remove the source of tooth decay and eliminate root canal infection. The preliminary treatment involves the draining of the pulp. During the root canal treatment, your dentist will determine whether it is possible to restore your tooth structure. If the dental abscess reaches the pulp, the remedy might be complex.

A root canal treatment is a slightly invasive dental procedure. If you want to know what to expect during the treatment, here are some points that you should be aware of:


  • Local Anaesthesia

Your dentist will administer local anaesthesia via injection or inhalation. It will help numb the tooth and its surrounding area to ease your treatment process. A root canal treatment without the use of local anaesthesia can be painful and therefore not recommended.


  • Dental Dam

A dental dam is a surgical technique that is necessary for the sterile treatment procedure. It allows your dentist to carry out the process without the risk of spreading contamination. Your dentist will place a thin sheet of vinyl or rubber over the affected teeth to make a dental dam. It contains a hole that allows the teeth to be isolated from the rest of the mouth.


  • Pulp Chamber

The dentist will create a small hole by drilling through the surface. This hole allows access to the pulp chamber that leads to the root canal. Removal of dead pulp tissue with the help of specially-designed instruments will take place.


  • Disinfectants

After bacteria drainage, your dentist will proceed with the restoration and reshaping of the root canal. It will help recreate the original structure and allow it to receive sealers and fillings. Prior to a dental filling, your dentist will disinfect the root canals with antibacterial and antiseptic solutions. These solutions help remove the remaining debris and prevents the recurrence of bacteria.


  • Gutta Percha

The newly-structured canal requires a filling to maintain its strength. This filling is usually consisting of a rubber-like material, also known as gutta-percha. It helps seal the root canal through the process of heating and compression. Sometimes, gutta-percha is used in combination with adhesive types of cement to prevent reinfection.


  • Dental Crown

After a successful root canal treatment, your dentist will perform some finishing touches. A permanent tooth restoration in the form of a dental crown will help replace your tooth. It also completes the sealing process as it is well-located at the top of your tooth. However, other tooth replacement options are possible depending on the recommendations of your dentist.


Final Thoughts

Our root canals are one of the most critical aspects of our dental health. Keeping our root canal healthy requires a great deal of care to avoid bacteria and infection buildup. As most dental providers suggest, the best way to prevent tooth decay and infection is early detection and treatment. To ensure your oral health status, having regular consultation and visits to your dentist is essential.

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