Save Your Infected Tooth

Extraction isn't the only option if your tooth becomes infected. Alexandria, VA, dentist, Dr. Moutaz Abdeen, at Alexandria Smiles Dentistry root canalexplains how a root canal can save your tooth.

What causes tooth infections?

Although your teeth may seem to be solid, a soft core in the center of each tooth called the pulp contains nerves, connective tissues and blood vessels. If an infection occurs in the pulp, the nerves become irritated, causing pain and sensitivity. Tooth infections can occur due to:

  • Chips and Cracks: Any small opening can allow bacteria to enter your pulp and trigger an infection.
  • Dental Procedures: If you've had several dental procedures on one tooth, your risk of infection increases.
  • Trauma: An infection may occur after your tooth has been injured.
  • Decay: If a cavity isn't detected or treated promptly, tooth decay can eventually reach your pulp.

Why is a root canal needed?

If your pulp is inflamed or infected, the only options are extraction or a root canal. Although an extraction may seem like an easy fix, removing a tooth can have consequences. After you lose a tooth, bone loss can occur in the section of jawbone underneath the missing tooth. Your teeth help support each other. When one tooth is lost, the others tend to eventually drift and overlap. Overlapping teeth affect your appearance and may also cause bite problems.

What happens during a root canal?

Many people mistakenly believe that root canals are extremely unpleasant procedures. Fortunately, that's not the case. You'll receive plenty of local anesthetic to ensure that you're never in pain during your treatment. When you visit Dr. Abdeen's Alexandria office, he'll remove the infected tissue and nerves, and he'll use tiny files to clean and shape the canals that extend deep into your roots. A filling will be added to the tooth to seal it. A crown may also be recommended to help stabilize the tooth.

Root canals offer a simple way to save an infected tooth. If you're concerned about a tooth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Abdeen at Alexandria Smile Dentistry in Alexandria, VA, by calling (703) 671-0626.