Just as onions, teeth have layers. The first layer, the tooth’s enamel, is the protective armor. Then comes the dentin, covering the pulp, and finally, we find the pulp, where we find the vessels and nerves.
The tooth’s enamel is the hardest material in our body and aims to prevent bacteria from attacking the pulp inside the teeth. But oral bacteria is tough enough to weaken the tooth’s enamel and even pierce it.
Have you ever heard the human mouth is a very dirty place? It’s because we always have bacteria trying to settle in them. Oral bacteria feed from food particles stuck in between our teeth, gums, and mouth in general. When bacteria feed, it produces an acid strong enough to break through the tooth’s enamel.
This process of tooth destruction is what we know as tooth decay and cavities, and it’s dangerous because it causes tooth loss, severe infections, and pain. The nerves and blood vessels in the pulp? They are extremely sensitive, so once decay-producing bacteria reach this inner layer, the pulp becomes inflamed, causing you great pain and discomfort.
There are levels of pain that cavities can produce. At the first stage, you can’t even feel dental decay, but it can get to a point where patients can’t even chew. This is where a root canal procedure from your Buckhead dentist can save you by giving you the oral health you need to live your life comfortably.
Buckhead Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, Dr. Bahar Nia, a top-rated dentist in Buckhead, Atlanta, works along with a talented endodontist, with a specialty in root canals, in our award-winning team.
Atlanta General Dentistry: What Is a Root Canal?
What is root canal treatment, and why is everyone afraid of it? Your doctor has to practice root canal therapy when dental caries infect the pulp of a tooth. It can be scary because the need for a root canal means a cavity has taken control of your tooth, reaching its most sensitive part.
A root canal is an endodontic treatment. But first things first: what is endodontics? An endodontist is a dentist specializing in the tooth’s pulp.
Endodontics treat pain and infections caused by tooth decay (or other agents). When you need root canal treatment, an endodontist is who you have to seek.
Back to clarifying what a root canal is. It’s a procedure that removes the damaged pulp from inside your tooth. The treatment includes cleaning off the infected pulp, filling, and sealing the tooth. How do they do it?
During a root canal procedure at Buckhead Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, the endodontist will use the latest high-tech microscope and equipment to ensure that the damaged nerve and pulp of the tooth are removed and the interior is cleaned and sealed to give you a pain-free and beautiful smile.
If the infected pulp is not completely cleaned off, there is a risk of having to repeat the process due to the persistent infection. It’s also crucial to seal the tooth to prevent bacteria from entering the delicate area once again.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal Procedure and What to Do
When the pulp of your tooth becomes inflamed, you can experience a lot of pain. If this happens, it’s important that you contact a licensed dentist right away. At Buckhead Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, Dr. Khan is prepared to practice endodontic treatments in Atlanta.
According to the specialists, the signs you may need a root canal include:
- Severe toothache when chewing or applying pressure.
- Discoloration/darkening of the tooth. Remember, tooth decay goes from a clear yellow shade to black spots on your teeth.
- Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
- Swelling and tenderness in the gums.
- Bland spots on the surface of a tooth.
In some cases, at the last stages of infection, you may find a drainage bump on your gums called a fistula; this is your body’s way of trying to relieve the pain and inflammation by pushing the infection out of the gum line.
For some people, there may not be any symptoms at all, at least not until they are hit with severe pain. Patients who have had root canal treatment before can end up with much less sensibility on their tooth, meaning severe infections can develop before the patient experiments any symptoms.
The best way to make sure that you treat tooth decay before it enters the pulp or spreads throughout the pulp even further is to schedule regular appointments at your dentist’s office. Sometimes you can’t see the damage since it can reside in between your back molars.
Is Dental Decay the Only Cause for Tooth’s Pulp Infections?
The answer is no. Although bacterial infections caused by tooth decay are the most common cause, dentists also recommend root canal treatments in cases where:
- There has been a direct trauma resulting in a chipped tooth, fractured tooth, or lost tooth.
- Small injuries in your tooth create tiny nooks or crannies that oral bacteria can penetrate.
- Patients have sensitive teeth due to brushing too hard or with a hard toothbrush, gum recession, gastrointestinal problems like reflux, and teeth grinding.
How Painful Is a Root Canal?
The fact that root canal therapy treats aching areas does not imply the treatment will hurt as well. Your endodontist will have to numb the affected area with a local anesthetic so you don’t have to feel pain at all.
The goal is to eliminate your discomfort, and we take great care in not producing more during treatment. However, you might feel sensitivity right after your treatment is done. We recommend avoiding spicy foods and acidic foods, ice cream, and hard foods for the next days after treatment.
Use over-the-counter painkillers if you feel discomfort, and see your doctor again if the problem persists.
Can Your Root Canal Result in Bad Breath?
Oral hygiene is always the same. Brushing and flossing your teeth daily with fluoride toothpaste is paramount to ensure your dental health. By doing this, you also prevent the need for root canal treatment.
If the cause of your tooth pain is a bacterial infection, bad breath is a likely symptom. If you constantly have bad breath, set an appointment with your dentist to make sure everything is in order. Sometimes, the causes of your bad breath are not in your mouth but in your digestive system.
Avoiding excess sugary foods is a great course of action if you want to prevent cavities and tooth sensitivity. Sugar is the favorite food of oral bacteria, and it will help weaken your tooth’s enamel.
Adding mouthwash with fluoride to your dental hygiene routine can help eliminate bacteria and bad breath all in one simple step.
You should never have to live with pain in your teeth. With Dr. Nia’s new endodontist joining the team, you can expect the very best care and precision when it comes to root canals in Buckhead and the surrounding areas.
Buckhead Cosmetic & Family Dentistry provides root canals, cosmetic dental services, and full smile makeovers to many patients, including influential celebrities in Atlanta and out of town.
If you have one or more teeth causing you pain or holding you back from showing off your cheerful smile, now is the time to make a change to a more confident you! Always remember dental care is a matter of health as much as a matter of beauty.