Dear Valued Patient:

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.

Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and stay safe.

Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations.

You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. For example:

- Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. You'll be asked those same questions again when you are in the office.

- We have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter the office. You will also find some in the reception area and other places in the office for you to use as needed.

- You may see that our waiting room will no longer offer magazines, children's toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.

- Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you're offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.

- We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.

We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. To make an appointment, please call our office at 704-364-9000. 

Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.

Sincerely,

Dr. Porter and Team

Signs That You May Need Root Canal Therapy

Whether you have a persistent toothache or prolonged sensitivity, root canal symptoms can be incredibly painful. A root canal becomes necessary when the pulp, or innermost portion of the tooth, becomes infected or inflamed. During treatment, the endodontist can carefully remove compromised tissue, clean and shape the canals, and fill the space to restore its structural integrity. If you are experiencing signs of an infection, contact your doctor as soon as possible. A root canal can save your tooth from extraction.

Common Symptoms

The pulp of a tooth can become infected or inflamed due to deep decay, trauma, or repeated dental work. There are several indications of an infection.

Pain

The most common symptom of an infected tooth is pain. Pain can come in the form of sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, or a severe toothache prompted by actions like chewing or biting. The extent of pain can vary from patient to patient and may present itself consistently or intermittently. Sensations may be throbbing, dull, or sharp and they can affect an isolated area of the mouth or extend to larger stretches of the smile. 

Pain can come in the form of sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, or a severe toothache when biting or chewing.

Keep in mind that dental pain can be caused by one of many conditions, so the best course of action is to consult a dentist if you are experiencing discomfort. 

Swelling

Swelling can also be a telltale sign of an infection. Nearby gums can swell and become tender. In some cases, inflammation can extend to the face and neck. At times, swelling may be accompanied by pain or a bad taste in the mouth.

Discoloration

An infected tooth may appear dark or discolored. However, you should also keep an eye out for yellow, white, or gray spots on a tooth, as these can be signs of decay. When left untreated, decay can spread to the pulp chamber. 

Pimple on the Gums

When a tooth is infected, a pimple-like growth can form on the gums. The technical term for this growth is a sinus tract, but you may also hear it called a fistula. The appearance of this pimple signifies that an infection is draining, and it may be accompanied by a bad odor or taste.

toothache
If you are experiencing a toothache, swelling, or a lesion on the gums, it may indicate that you need a root canal. Contact your dentist right away.

Diagnosing an Infection

Sometimes, an infection presents with no symptoms at all. However, your dentist would be able to identify an infection using x-rays or other advanced images. Most dentists take periodic x-rays as part of routine dental care. These images allow the dentist to see beneath the gums to the dental roots and jawbone. A dark spot around the root of a tooth, known as a radiolucency, could be a sign that the root is damaged or infected. An x-ray may also reveal decay, which appears as a dark spot within the tooth.

Using advanced imaging technology, the doctor can accurately diagnose an infection. 

When Should You Contact the Dentist?

If you are experiencing signs of an infection, you should contact your doctor immediately. Whether a tooth is infected and needs root canal treatment or simply has a small cavity, it will not heal on its own. In fact, postponing professional dental care will only allow the condition to worsen, which could result in the need for more invasive and costly solutions. Seek a dentist’s advice early, and attend biannual checkups and cleanings to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy.

Dr. Porter

Charles A. Porter III, DDS

Dr. Porter implements the latest developments and highest standards in dentistry. He is a member of several prestigious organizations, including the:

  • American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • North Carolina Dental Society 

To schedule your consultation, contact our Charlotte office online or call us at (704) 364-9000.

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Charlotte Office

135 S Sharon Amity Rd
Ste 200
Charlotte, NC 28211

Open Today 7:00am - 2:00pm

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