A visit to the endodontist may not be a regular occurrence, but it can relieve serious oral problems. This dental professional focuses on diagnosing and treating injuries to and abnormalities of the teeth’s pulp. A root canal is one of the most common procedures this doctor will perform. You may have anxiety when you hear…
What Will an Endodontist Do for an Abscessed Tooth?
An Endodontist has lots of experience dealing with abscessed teeth. An abscess is a pocket of pus that builds up in and around an infected tooth. An abscess is referred to as periapical when it occurs at the tip of a tooth's root and periodontal when it occurs in the gum area near the tooth's root.
An endodontist explains how an abscessed tooth is treated
A tooth might develop an abscess as a result of an untreated cavity. Cavities typically expand until they reach the pulp chamber when left untreated. This is where the connective tissues, blood vessels and nerves of a tooth are contained.
The standard way that an endodontist would treat an abscess is by treating the infection causing it and draining the pus. In many cases, the endodontist may be able to save the tooth with root canal therapy. Leaving an abscess untreated should never be an option since the infection can spread to other parts of the body like the heart and brain, where it can lead to life-threatening complications.
Symptoms often associated with an abscessed tooth include:
- A persistent, severe toothache that radiates to the ear, neck and jawbone
- Increased sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures
- Tooth pain when chewing
- Swelling of facial features like the cheeks
- A fever
- Swollen, tender lymph nodes around the neck or under the jaw
- A bad odor coming from the mouth
- A bad taste in the mouth coming from the affected tooth
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
Diagnosing and treating an abscessed tooth
An endodontist might diagnose an abscessed tooth by visually inspecting it. They might tap on the patient's teeth to see how they react. Teeth that have developed an abscess are normally sensitive to pressure or touch.
The endodontist might also use diagnostic tests like x-rays and CT scans to determine if the infection has progressed to other areas. CT scans help to evaluate if the infection has spread to the patient's neck area.
The goal of treating an abscessed tooth is to eliminate the infection. Doing so often brings an end to any pain and discomfort the patient is dealing with.
The endodontist will start by opening up the area around the affected tooth and drain any pus. The area is disinfected with a saline solution, and a rubber drain might be inserted to continue draining the area while the inflammation goes down.
A root canal is performed to treat the infection and to save the patient's tooth. It involves drilling a hole into the patient's tooth and using files to clean out the content of the pulp chamber. The area is disinfected and the tooth is sealed up. The tooth may be covered with a crown to make it stronger. This is particularly important if the tooth is located in the back of the mouth.
If the infection is too severe to be treated. The endodontist might recommend extracting the tooth instead.
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