If you’ve been informed that you need root canal therapy and you’d like a second opinion on the diagnosis, Advanced Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Alpharetta, GA at 678-389-9000 today. Drs. Silverman and Morton offer second opinions, as well as gentle, contemporary root canal therapy to save internally infected teeth from needing extraction.
How a Tooth Canal Becomes Infected
Your teeth are coated with enamel, the strongest substance in your body. Tooth enamel is harder than bone. However, our teeth are susceptible to damage. When a chip, crack, or cavity is not immediately treated, bacteria will invade the tooth. It’s just a matter of time, because our teeth don’t heal naturally like skin and bones do. Infections only worsen.
Our mouths are filled with bacteria, some good and some bad. When bad bacteria can access a tooth through damaged enamel, they invade the core of the tooth. Nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues within the core will first become infected, then die. Once the tooth dies, RCT isn’t effective, so if you notice symptoms that could indicate internal tooth infection, schedule a dental appointment now! Call 678-389-9000.
Symptoms of an Infected Tooth Canal
This list of symptoms is not exhaustive, but covers the most common symptoms you may notice if your tooth canal becomes infected:
Pain when chewing foods
Pain upon any pressure
Sensitivity to heat and cold
Discoloration of tooth
Gum swelling, redness, and/or bleeding
Chip, crack, or cavity
The tooth moves when pressed
Abscess on root tip
Once a tooth’s core is riddled with bacteria, you have two options: RCT or extraction. When infection is found in earlier stages, RCT may save the tooth. However, in some cases, the infection is too advanced and extraction is the only option. If you have a tooth extracted, it should be replaced to restore proper oral function and to prevent other teeth from drifting into the space.
Result of Non-Treatment
When you notice symptoms of tooth canal infection, you have only a few weeks before the infection destroys the nerve and blood vessels within the tooth. This means you have a brief window for salvaging the tooth. Waiting too long will result in:
Acute, constant toothache
Spread of infection to the bloodstream
Spread of infection to neighboring teeth
Need for tooth extraction
Root Canal (Tooth Canal) Therapy
By assessing x-rays, Drs. Silverman and Morton can see whether a tooth is internally infected. EPT (electronic pulp testing) is another option for diagnosing internal infection. EPT involves sending a low-voltage current through the tooth to determine whether the tooth is alive or dead. These tests, in combination with symptoms, allow the dentist to diagnose the need for root canal therapy.
When our patients need RCT, we go to great lengths to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. Patients can choose from Kovanaze(™) Nasal Spray, a needle-free dental anesthesia, or nitrous oxide, oral sedation, or IV sedation. IV sedation is also called conscious sedation or twilight sedation.
To perform RCT, an entry is made into the tooth so that the dentist can access the pulp. Next, the infected pulp is removed and the canals are sanitized. At this point, gutta-percha (a plastic-like substance) is placed into the tooth’s core and canals to reinforce the tooth from within. Finally, the dentist will place a filling or crown to seal the tooth.
In total, RCT takes one or two hours and in some cases, treatment is phased over two visits.
Tooth Replacement Options
A tooth infection that’s too advanced for RCT usually indicates that dental extraction is necessary. When a tooth is extracted or lost, it should be replaced. Not replacing a missing tooth can cause serious problems, including but not limited to:
Gum disease (bacteria enter through the missing tooth’s socket)
Gaps between teeth
Shifting (drifting) teeth
Bruxism (clenching and grinding teeth)
Limited chewing ability/dietary limitations
At Advanced Cosmetic & Family dentistry, you can choose from a dental implant, implant-retained bridge, or traditional fixed bridge to replace one missing tooth or a few in a row. We also offer partial and full dentures, both traditional and implant-retained, to replace multiple or all lost teeth.
Gentle RCT in Alpharetta, GA
In addition to gentle root canal therapy, our doctors offer emergency and scheduled dental extractions. As noted, we strive to make procedures as comfortable as possible by offering needle-free anesthesia, as well as various sedation options. Our office is open five days a week, with appointments as early as 7:00 am, and we’re open until 6:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Best of all, we see patients of all ages and are accepting new patients, so call us today at 678-735-5946 to reserve your appointment or second-opinion consultation today.