Root Canal Therapy is necessary when the nerve of a tooth becomes infected or abscessed due to decay, a crack, or trauma. The infected nerve is removed and replaced with a filling substance called gutta percha. Because the tooth is now in a brittle state, the tooth then needs a crown.
What is an Abscessed Tooth?
An abscessed tooth is an infected tooth. When tooth decay is ignored for too long, it can advance deep into a tooth and cause inflammation and destruction of the pulp (the “core” of the tooth). Once the pulp is infected, it often becomes swollen, painful, and unresponsive to simple pain control measures.
Is an abscessed tooth dangerous?
An abscessed tooth should be treated immediately. It is a very serious infection and if left untreated, the bacteria causing the infection of the pulp can spread to the surrounding tissue and even bone. At this point, the bone surrounding the tooth will start to dissolve and serious systemic infection and immune system compromise can take place.
What are the signs and/or symptoms?
- Exaggerated sensitivity to hot foods or liquid
- Red, swollen gums
- Pain that wakes you up from a sound sleep
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Swelling in your face
- Throbbing pain, especially when chewing
- Spontaneous pain
- A pimple-like bump on the gum near the tooth
How do you treat an abscessed tooth?
Treatment depends on the severity of the abscess. Infection usually responds well to antibiotics. The antibiotics, however, cannot cure the abscess, but rather serve to quiet the infection and allow the patient time to choose the appropriate treatment. The tooth will then need either root canal therapy or in severe cases an extraction.