Root canals are common procedures that are used to help save teeth that have pain or infection. If caught early, a filling is usually all that is needed. However, when a cavity gets too deep, the integrity of the nerve, or pulp of the tooth, becomes compromised. This is when you need a root canal.
While your dentist should be the one to examine your tooth and let you know whether or not you need a root canal, there are a few signs and symptoms that you should take notice of.
What is a Root Canal?
When you have severe tooth pain or infection, root canal treatment is usually the recommended treatment option by most dental professionals. This procedure uses small flexible instruments that work their way through the complex nerve anatomy found within the roots of a tooth. This complex system of nerve tissue resides within canals within the roots, hence the term “root canal”.
During the procedure, pulp (nerve) tissue, bacteria and infection are removed from these canals. The canals will then be cleaned, disinfected and sealed with special filling materials. The last step is often a crown with your referring dentist that will help restore the tooth back to its full form and function.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
Below you will find a few of the most common signs or symptoms that your tooth may require root canal treatment.
Toothache. One of the biggest indicators that something is wrong is tooth pain. Just because you have it does not mean you need a root canal, but if you have a severely inflamed or infected tooth, you are very likely to have tooth pain.
Swollen Gums. The gums surrounding an infected tooth can be impacted by the infection inside the tooth. They will often begin to swell and become sensitive. Even though you may be able to find relief with certain home remedies (swishing with salt water) or by taking over-the-counter pain medication, it does not resolve the problem inside the tooth.
Dental Abscess. Speaking of gums, some patients with an infected tooth may have a pocket of pus that resembles a small pimple on their gums. If the gum begins to swell or if it makes any part of your face or neck begin to swell, be sure to seek treatment right away.
Sensitivity to Temperatures. Some people generally experience sensitivity to hot and/or cold temperatures, others not so much. If you suddenly begin experiencing a sense of hypersensitivity when eating or drinking something that is hot or cold, this should be a sign that something is not right. And, it could very well mean you need a root canal.
A Discolored Tooth. As decay spreads within the inside of your tooth, it will begin to darken. At first, it may start out as a small dark spot. However, the longer it is left alone, the larger this dark spot may become. Teeth may stain, but they do not grow dark for no reason. If you have a tooth that is showing signs of dark discoloration, this is something that should be addressed. Trauma to a tooth can also cause discoloration and should be followed up immediately with an Endodontist to prevent infection of the tooth.
Root Canal Treatment at Reston Endodontics
If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms or you think you may need root canal treatment, then the next step to take is to contact your endodontist. Addressing dental issues early may reduce the risk of severe pain or infection.
At Reston Endodontics we use state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures and radiographic imaging to help us determine just how bad your tooth is and if root canal treatment is warranted.