Dentists use root canals to save teeth that are badly infected. Sometimes, due to damage or decay, the inner part of the tooth becomes infected. However, the tooth may not have to be pulled, thanks to the root canal procedure. This article takes a closer look at this common treatment and three main signs you might need one.
What is a root canal?
Sometimes decay works its way to the inner part of the tooth, and the pulp becomes infected. The pulp is the living part of the tooth protected by the outer layer of dentin and enamel. When decay infects the pulp, it can cause pain and other symptoms. Therefore, this infection must be dealt with to prevent it from spreading.
Dentists use a root canal to avoid pulling the infected tooth when possible. Nothing functions quite like a natural tooth. Therefore, dentists prefer to try and save a tooth rather than replace it. During this procedure, the dentist cleans the infected pulp out of the tooth, cleans the inside, and fills the tooth. Sometimes a crown is placed over the root canal tooth.
Major signs you may need one
Sometimes, a tooth needing a root canal exhibits no or hardly noticeable symptoms. However, these are three prominent signs someone may need a root canal.
- Hot and Cold Sensitivity. Patients may experience heightened, lingering sensitivity after biting or sipping something hot or cold. This type of sensitivity to temperature is often associated with root canals. However, it can be a sign of other dental issues.
- Pain. Root canals usually cause some degree of dental pain. This pain can worsen when biting or applying pressure to the tooth. The pain is often described as throbbing and may worsen when someone lies down.
- Swelling and redness. If these last symptoms accompany the above, the need for a root canal is even more likely. A patient may notice redness and swelling around the gumline of the tooth. The gum around to tooth may be red and tender.
If you have all three of these symptoms, they will likely worsen without treatment. Therefore, it is important to call a dentist as soon as possible not only to get on the road to feeling better but also to have the chance to prevent the spread of possible infection and save the tooth.
Important notes about root canals
A root canal can save a tooth, but the tooth is devitalized after treatment. This condition means the tooth can still function like a normal tooth for the most part but will not contain any living tissue. Therefore it can be more susceptible to damage and decay.
Another important thing to remember is that sometimes teeth a tooth that needs root canal treatment does not display symptoms, which is why routine dental appointments are so important. A dentist can notice signs a tooth is in trouble before it bothers the patient. Also, the dentist can even catch cavities in earlier stages when less invasive treatment can help.
Are you worried you need a root canal?
The first thing we want to stress is not to panic. Call our team, and we will get you in for an appointment as soon as possible. If you need a root canal, our skilled team will keep you comfortable and advise you. Let us help you find relief and preserve your oral health.
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