Knowing if you need a root canal is like trying to figure out if you need a filling. It can be difficult during those early stages of a problem to know if better oral hygiene efforts can solve the issue or if dental work is required. This is because many of the signs can only be determined by a trained dentist.
Physical symptoms usually don’t start until the problem has become more advanced, which is why it’s so important to see your dentist regularly. But if you don’t get to the dentist to spot a problem before it escalates, you might have an infected tooth and a potential root canal on your hands.
Root canals are used to repair and save teeth that have become badly decayed or infected. When the pulp of the tooth, composed of blood vessels and nerves, is damaged, it needs to be removed and the inside of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed.
If you suspect a problem with one or more of your teeth, here are 7 signs you need a root canal for yourself:
Pain is one of the main indicators that something is wrong with the root of your tooth. If you have trouble doing normal activities such as drinking or eating without feeling pain, you should see your dentist as soon as you can.
Your dentist will examine your aching tooth to see if your blood vessels or nerves have become inflamed due to infection. Antibiotics can fix these types of infections, so your dentist might choose to do a root canal to ease the pain.
Your teeth can get chipped or cracked from eating hard foods, being involved in contact sports, or when previous dental procedures go awry.
When a tooth gets cracked or chipped, it can expose the nerves beneath the surface of the tooth and lead to an infection. An infection in a tooth’s root can enter the bloodstream and spread. An untreated infection requires a root canal to prevent further infection and pain.
Another common sign that you might need a root canal is tooth sensitivity. If your tooth aches when you drink hot drinks such as coffee or tea, this is a problem. What starts as a dull ache can progress into a sharp, intense pain.
Cold foods and drinks can also cause a lot of pain for those with an infected tooth. When you consume ice and avoid crunching on one side of your mouth to avoid a painful tooth, damaged blood vessels and nerve endings may be to blame.
Your dentist might conclude that a root canal is needed to fix the problem with your sensitive tooth.
Swollen gums are a sign of problems beneath the surface. If your gums are painful and swollen or have a raised bump on them, your dentist will examine the swollen gums to see if inflammation is to blame.
In some cases, a root canal is needed to solve the problem of inflamed gums if they don’t improve.
A discolored tooth can be the result of poor hygiene, exposure to food and drink that stains tooth enamel, or due to nerve damage beneath the tooth’s surface. When nerve and blood vessel damage occurs, your dentist will have you schedule an appointment for a root canal to remove the damaged root.
If it hurts when you put pressure on your tooth, and that sensitivity lasts for weeks or months without improvement, a root canal might be in your future. Prolonged tooth sensitivity is typically the result of a damaged root, and these won’t heal on their own. If you want to get rid of the pain for good and keep contamination from spreading, your dentist can help you do that.
Once deep decay has set in within the base of your tooth, no amount of brushing, flossing or rinsing with mouth wash will solve the problem. If a cavity has been neglected for too long it will spread down into the nerve and the root of the tooth. In such a scenario, a root canal is likely the only option for repair before the patient is fitted with a crown.
This is why regular oral hygiene and regular dentist appointments are so important. When your teeth and gums are neglected, infection and disease will spread and what might have been a small fix can become much more serious.
If you suspect that you have a dental issue that can only be resolved with a root canal, don’t worry. Root canals, though not at the top of anyone’s list of a great time, are common and don’t have to be painful. With the right dentist, the experience doesn’t have to be a scary one.
The truth is, it hurts a lot more to continue on with a damaged tooth or teeth than to undergo a root canal procedure. In fact, most patients say the procedure was painless. Though you can expect to feel some minor aches and sensitivity once the anesthetic wears off, these small discomforts will subside within a couple of weeks.
The best thing to do is call your dentist and schedule an appointment today to get your teeth healthy again.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or have questions about these signs you need a root canal, give us a call and set up an appointment with Dr. Aubert. Our friendly, professional staff is happy to help you with any dental concerns that you have.
Dr. Aubert has performed countless root canals, examinations and cosmetic procedures for his patients as they seek healthier, more beautiful smiles.
Give us a call or send us a message for more information on root canals as well as any other dental service you require.