As a patient, it’s not always possible to know when you need a given dental procedure, but there are some signposts along the way that may point to the potential need for root canal therapy. This knowledge can give you some time to psychologically prepare for what lies ahead if you should need this common endodontics procedure.
If you’ve been experiencing pain and swelling around a tooth, you may have found yourself searching online for the term “dentist near me” to begin preparing yourself. Most general dentists are skilled in performing root canal treatments. Sometimes, they will refer a particular case to an endodontist, a dental professional who specializes in performing root canals.
What is a root canal?
A root canal procedure is a dental treatment that becomes necessary when the dental pulp of a tooth becomes highly inflamed or infected. The dental pulp is a soft tissue that lies within the hard, outer shell made up of tooth enamel. It contains blood vessels and a multitude of nerves, which can cause a great deal of pain if inflammation or infection reaches it.
Left untreated, this situation can cause the loss of a tooth. A root canal procedure saves your original tooth and relieves your pain immediately.
Signs you may need a root canal include:
- Tooth pain
- Sensitivity to extreme temperatures
- Gum sensitivity
- Chipped tooth
An infected tooth can lead to sudden pain and sensitivity. A tooth that may need a root canal is typically the only one affected.
This kind of pain or discomfort can be felt as either a dull ache or a sharp, acute pain. The pain will probably increase whenever you touch the tooth.
Sensitivity to Hot and Cold
Severe tooth decay can begin affecting the nerves in the dental pulp, leading to sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. Take notice of whether the pain affects only one tooth in particular. If all of your teeth are affected, it could indicate a another type of problem.
When a tooth experiences an infection, the infection can spread to other parts of your mouth. You may begin noticing that the gum tissue around the tooth is tender, swollen or red.
Having a chipped tooth can lead to a tooth infection. This is because the outer structure of the tooth has been damaged, allowing the entry of bacteria.
If you have a chipped tooth, you should know that this tooth is susceptible to infection. Your dentist should be able to repair the chip, preventing infection and tooth decay, not to mention the need for an eventual root canal procedure.
An infected tooth will normally have noticeable symptoms. Sometimes, you may have an infected tooth that does not display any symptoms. That may be because the infection has not yet reached the nerve.
That is why it is important to keep up with your regularly scheduled dental exam and cleaning appointments. This should allow your dental team to catch an infected tooth before a root canal procedure becomes necessary.