How Do You Know if You Need a Root Canal?
Years ago, just the words “root canal” were enough to strike fear in patients. However, today the procedure is nearly pain-free. Thanks to advances in technology and modern root canal techniques, the procedure can be completed in less than an hour, allowing you to return to normal activities the same day. Do not let your tooth pain go unchecked. If your dentist has told you that you need a root canal, don’t put it off. To help ease your fears, here is an overview of what you can expect.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is also known as endodontic treatment. Root canals are performed to prevent the extraction of teeth that are severely decayed, damaged, or infected. During a root canal, once the entire area surrounding the tooth is numbed, your endodontist will access the pulp (interior) of your tooth. The pulp of each tooth hosts nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels. Your endodontist will remove this pulp, and clean out any infection in the canals of the tooth. The canals are then sealed with a safe, biocompatible material. After your root canal is completed, you’ll ultimately return to your general dentist to receive a crown, permanent filling, or have your current crown restored.
It is important to note that once you have fully-developed adult teeth, you technically no longer need the pulp of your tooth. Root canals allow for the removal of the infected pulp so you can keep your tooth.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
The only way to know for certain that you need a root canal is by seeing a dentist or endodontist who can diagnose the problem. If your general dentist thinks you require a root canal you will likely be referred to an experienced endodontist for the procedure. However, you may suspect you’re going to need a root canal if you experience the following common symptoms of a problem within the pulp of your tooth.
You Have Pain When Chewing
Pain in your tooth needs to be diagnosed immediately. Sometimes the pain is due to other issues, such as a cracked tooth, or gum disease. However, new onset of pain, especially to temperature or chewing, may be a sign of infection in the pulp of your tooth that will require a root canal.
Your Gums Are Dark, Swollen, or Tender
If you notice that your gums appear darker in color, swollen, or are suddenly very tender, see a dentist as soon as possible. Several conditions can cause irritated, bleeding, swollen gums. An infection in your tooth is one possibility. Your dentist will diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate treatment which may include a referral to an endodontist for root canal therapy.
You Have a Cracked Tooth
A cracked tooth, resulting from dental trauma, should be treated immediately. If not treated, an infection is likely to develop, requiring a root canal, or other treatment for cracked teeth. If you have a cracked tooth, schedule an appointment with your dentist or endodontist immediately. Any infection or crack should be treated quickly to hopefully prevent tooth loss.
Your Teeth are Sensitive to Hot or Cold Foods
If you suddenly develop a sensitivity to hot or cold foods, this may indicate infection, irritation, or inflammation of the pulp. Having sensitive teeth is not enjoyable, you are constantly being bothered by the slightest temperature of foods. Because of this, be sure to tell your dentist if you have an onset of tooth sensitivity.
Root Canal Specialists in Springfield, Ohio
Root canals have historically gotten a bad rap, but they can be the saving grace for your extreme tooth pain, and the tooth itself! When many people think of root canal therapy, they fear the dentist or endodontist causing intense pain. However, that is not the case! In fact, root canals actually help to eliminate your tooth pain and are not a painful procedure.
Why do I need a root canal?
Root canals are needed to remove bacteria and infected tissue from a tooth’s infected root. Performing root canal therapy prevents reinfection and can help save the natural tooth. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, a root canal may be the answer:
- Severe pain while chewing or biting
- General trauma to the tooth, such as a chipped or cracked tooth
- Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the sensation has been removed
- Aching or constant throbbing pain in the mouth
- Swollen or tender gums
- Deep decay or darkening of the gums
What happens during a root canal?
Today’s root canals are very similar to a routine dental filling and are not painful. Often the pain from your tooth is worse than the actual procedure. The procedure, given proper anesthesia, has no pain at all! After treatment, you will be pain-free and on your way to recovery.
Your dentist or endodontist will begin by numbing the area. They then remove the inflamed or infected nerve of the tooth. The area is then filled and sealed to prevent repeat infection. Afterward, you will likely need a crown placed on the treated tooth to restore full form and function.
Run, don’t walk to Springfield Gentle Dental!
Don’t let your fear of the dentist or root canals keep you from becoming pain-free. The longer you wait, the more pain you will experience and can sometimes result in losing the tooth if not treated. This also risks greater and worsening infection. We are dedicated to you and your families dental health. Don’t put off your visit to the dentist!
At Springfield Gentle Dental, our dentists and team are well-trained and want to help you become pain-free. If you are experiencing tooth pain, schedule your appointment today.