Put an End to Infected Teeth and Root Canals
Dental infections are a common problem that can cause significant pain and discomfort. If left untreated, tooth infections can lead to health problems, including abscesses, bone loss, and even sepsis.
While there are several treatment options for dental infections, root canal therapy is often the most effective and long-lasting solution. At Aesthetic Dental Associates, our Seattle dentists want patients to understand the importance of root canal therapy in treating dental infections, ensuring they get the dental care they need before further complications can occur.
What Are Dental Infections?
Dental infections are caused by harmful bacteria that invade the teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. These bacteria can enter the body in various ways, including tooth decay, gum disease, or injury to the mouth. When the bacteria multiply, they can cause inflammation, pain, and swelling.
Types of Dental Infections
There are varying types of dental infections one can experience, including:
- Tooth Abscess: An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms around the root of a tooth. An untreated cavity, cracked tooth, or severe gum disease usually causes it. Symptoms may include severe toothache, swelling, redness, and pus discharge.
- Gum Infection (Gingivitis): Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. If left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, a more advanced form of gum disease.
- Periapical Abscess: This type of infection occurs at the tip of the tooth root, usually as a result of tooth decay or trauma. It can cause localized pain, and swelling, and may lead to the formation of an abscess.
- Periodontal Abscess: A periodontal abscess forms in the gums, rather than the tooth root. It often arises from untreated periodontal disease and can cause swelling, gum pain, and pus discharge.
- Ludwig’s Angina: This is a severe infection that affects the floor of the mouth, usually spreading from an infected tooth or gum. It can lead to swelling, difficulty swallowing, and breathing problems, and is considered a dental emergency
Symptoms of Dental Infections
The symptoms of dental infections can vary depending on the severity and location of the infection. Some common symptoms include:
- Pain or sensitivity in the affected tooth or gum
- Swelling or redness in the affected area
- Fever or chills
- Difficulty eating or drinking
- Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Pus or discharge from the affected area
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a consultation with our Seattle dental team. If left untreated, tooth infections can wreak havoc on your oral health.
What Causes Dental Infections?
Several factors can contribute to the development of dental infections. Some of the most common causes include:
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Not brushing and flossing can allow harmful bacteria to accumulate in the mouth, leading to infections.
- Tooth Decay: Cavities can allow bacteria to enter the tooth’s inner layers, causing infections.
- Gum Disease: When the gums become inflamed and infected, it can lead to infections in the surrounding teeth and tissue.
- Injury to the Mouth: Trauma to the mouth, such as a broken tooth or a cut on the gum, can create an entry point for bacteria.
- Weakened Immune System: People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy, are more susceptible to infections.
Preventing Dental Infections
Preventing dental infections is necessary for maintaining good oral health. Here are some tips to help keep your teeth and gums healthy:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth.
- Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks, which can increase the risk of tooth decay.
- Visit Dr. Johnson regularly for dental cleanings and checkups.
- Wear a mouthguard when playing sports or engaging in other activities that could cause injury to your mouth.
How Does Root Canal Therapy Treat Dental Infections?
Root canal therapy is crucial in treating dental infections for several reasons:
- Removes Source of Infection: By removing the infected or damaged pulp tissue from inside the tooth, root canal therapy eliminates the source of the infection.
- Saves Natural Tooth: Without treatment, dental infections can lead to tooth loss. Root canal therapy can save the affected tooth and prevent the need for more extensive dental work, such as a dental implant or bridge.
- Prevents Infection From Spreading: Dental infections can spread and cause serious health problems. By treating the infection with root canal therapy, the risk of the infection spreading is greatly reduced.
- Relieves Pain and Discomfort: Dental infections can be painful and can cause significant discomfort. Root canal therapy can relieve pain and restore function to the affected tooth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, root canal therapy can help prevent future dental infections by removing the infected tissue and sealing the tooth with a dental filling or crown. Maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups to prevent future dental problems.
Dental infections cannot be transmitted through casual contact or airborne particles. However, the bacteria that cause tooth infections can be spread through saliva. Practice good oral hygiene and avoid sharing utensils or other items that may come into contact with saliva.
In some cases, a minor tooth infection may go away on its own as the body’s immune system fights off the infection. However, more severe infections will not go away without proper treatment and can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
The length of time a tooth infection can go untreated varies depending on the severity of the infection and the individual’s immune system. In some cases, a tooth infection can progress rapidly and lead to serious health problems within days or weeks. Seek prompt treatment if you experience any symptoms of a dental infection, such as tooth pain or sensitivity.
Discover How Root Canal Therapy Can Treat Dental Infection
Dental infections can be severe and painful if left untreated, but root canal therapy can effectively treat and prevent these infections. If you experience any symptoms of a dental infection, such as tooth pain or sensitivity, see our dentist as soon as possible. With proper treatment, including root canal therapy, most dental infections can be successfully treated and resolved.
Contact Aesthetic Dental Associates today to learn more, or to schedule a consultation.