How Do You Tell If You Need A Root Canal?
Are you wondering if you need a root canal? While tooth pain can be a sign, knowing whether you need a root canal or not is usually best determined by your dental team. Experienced dental professionals can easily assess whether or not a root canal is necessary.
If you do need root canal treatment, don’t stress. The procedure is simple and swift, and can prevent far more serious problems from occurring. Let’s take a look at what a root canal actually is.
Defining a Root Canal
Root canal treatment is designed to remove infected or inflamed tissues from inside of the tooth. This area is called the “pulp” or “root canal system”, and is located inside of the tooth and root(s). The root canal system is not visible to the naked eye, since it is inside the tooth.
An infection usually begins due to bacteria entering the pulp, whether it occurs due to decay, a damaged or cracked tooth, or an abnormality of the tooth. Most commonly, the route to infection begins with untreated decay from a cavity. Treating cavities quickly can often prevent this type of infection from beginning.
What are the Symptoms of Needing a Root Canal?
Some of the symptoms you may be experiencing include pain and swelling, discomfort when chewing, tenderness in the gums, or increased sensitivity. Pain alone may not indicate you need a root canal but if you have a toothache that pulses, is intermittent, disrupts your sleep, is triggered by hot or cold, or doesn’t respond well to over-the-counter analgesics (like ibuprofen or acetaminophen), then a root canal may be necessary. A bad odor in that area of your mouth may also indicate the need for a root canal.
How Can My Dentist Know for Sure?
Your dentist can determine if you need a root canal by using x-rays, examining your tooth, and if necessary testing for cavities or using other forms of testing on the tooth.
Regular, routine exams with x-rays can identify problems that may be emerging before pain occurs.
Dental exams that look for discoloration to your tooth, or gum boils, gum swelling, or gum pockets can also provide diagnostic information.Your dentist may tap on the tooth that is creating pain, in order to view the response, and to evaluate pain to determine the source.
Don’t Ignore Dental Pain
Whether you need root canal treatment or another form of treatment, don’t ignore tooth pain or discomfort. Continual, persistent, or severe dental pain can be managed effectively by a trained endodontist.
What Does Root Canal Treatment Consist Of?
Root canal treatment is a simple procedure, in which your skilled dental team will remove the pulp that is affected by decay or disease and clean the root canal system. You can think of root canals as being channels inside of the roots (think of the inside of a pipe–the pipe itself is the root, while the space inside the pipe is the pulp or “root canal system”). Then the chamber is disinfected, and filled to seal your tooth, effectively preventing the return of any infection. After the internal portion of the tooth is cleaned, the roots are filled with a material to prevent bacterial re-infection. Afterward, you may need to see your general dentist for a crown to be customized and placed over the tooth.
Find Out More About Root Canal Therapy
If you’re ready to find out more about root canal treatment or schedule an appointment, contact us. We are here to help you with all your root canal diagnosis and treatment needs.