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If infection has spread to the nerve of a tooth, it has the potential to spread to other teeth as well as your jaw.  In this scenario the tooth may need a root canal.

The inner part of a tooth is called the pulp and it has two major functions.  One is that it has blood vessels which supply the rest of the tooth with oxygen and nutrients.  The second is that it is where the tooth’s nerves are located.

Luckily the nerves in teeth aren’t vital to the purpose of the rest of the tooth.  In fact, the only thing they do is sense hot and cold temperatures.

When the nerve tissue becomes damaged from infection or trauma it breaks down and bacteria spread throughout the pulp.  In particularly bad scenarios an abscess can form at the end of the root and result in bone loss, swelling in the face and head, or the hole can drain into the gums.

During a root canal, the pulp is removed and refilled with temporary cement.  The rest of the tooth is then prepared for a crown or restored with filling material.  For crown procedures a device called a post is inserted to essentially strengthen and reinforce the tooth.

In the x-ray above, a post has been placed in the middle tooth and the tooth built up so that it is ready to be prepped for a crown.

Sometimes there are no signs or symptoms that a root canal is necessary, but if you are experiencing sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, pain during chewing or pressure, or swelling in your gums your mouth is probably telling you that a root canal may be in order.   

Infections in the roots of teeth are serious and should be treated to prevent infection from spreading.  Smiles Unlimited Dentistry, P.C. is here to give you the most comfortable root canal possible.