women at dentist for root canal

5 Telltale Signs You May Need a Root Canal

Simply hearing the words “root canal” can cause shivers down your spine — and although this procedure may cause apprehension, it will actually result in immense relief.

If you are suffering from an infection or decay in your tooth pulp, this can lead to overwhelming pain and discomfort. To remedy these symptoms, a root canal is often required. This common dental procedure will result in the removal of the infected or damaged material, and in turn, patients experience remarkable pain relief.

If You Are Experiencing These 5 Signs, You May Need a Root Canal

There are a number of reasons why patients require a root canal. Most commonly, this procedure is required following decay, damage, or disease. For example, if you crack your tooth, this can cause an infection and/or decay, and in turn, increasing pain.

RelatedEmergency! Broken Tooth, Now What?

If you are currently experiencing any of the following five warning signs, it is important that you see your dentist as soon as possible. Although a root canal may not be required, any abnormalities within your mouth should be examined as soon as possible.

Warning sign #1: Tooth pain

This is the most commonly discussed symptom, as it can become quite unbearable for those suffering. Although you can experience tooth pain for a number of reasons, including the development of cavities, if you experience worsening pain when biting down, eating, or applying any pressure, you may need a root canal.

For example, if you are suffering from an infection, this can seriously impact the blood vessels and nerves in the tooth itself. When an issue occurs in the pulp chamber (the soft area within the center of your tooth), it can be removed without sacrificing the health or function of the tooth itself. This means that a root canal is a safe and easy way to eliminate pain, without sacrificing your oral health.

Warning signs #2: Increased sensitivity

Once again, the nerves in your dental pulp have one function — they provide you with sensory information, particularly in regards to the sensation of heat and cold. You may be able to relate, as sensitive teeth is a fairly common issue, impacting around 40 million Americans.

This is just one sign that you should visit your dentist — learn more here.

In comparison, if you drink a hot or cold drink, and your level of sensitivity does not subside once the drink is no longer touching the affected area, this may mean you need a root canal. Remember, sensitive teeth is a common issue. However, if you experience sensitivity to pain that tends to linger, you should seek a professional opinion.

Warning signs #3: Inflammation

Most commonly seen on the gums, when issues arise, it will not only be your teeth that begin to show warning signs. If your gums are highly inflamed around the affected tooth, causing swelling, pain, and redness, a root canal may be required. If an infection is to blame, the root canal itself can stop the infection from spreading, protecting your overall health.

Please note: Numerous studies have also identified a link between oral infections and heart disease. In fact, as stated in the Journal of Dental Research, it was found that those suffering from a tooth infection face a risk of heart disease that is nearly three times higher. This is the case, even if the infection is symptomless. Although there are varying causes of a tooth infection, when the inside of a tooth is infected and dying, it will not get better on its own.

Warning sign #4: Darkening of the tooth

Most often than not, this symptom will occur after some level of trauma. For example, if you hit your tooth and damage occurs, pigment from the nerve can cause your tooth to turn grey or brown. Since the inside of your tooth will essentially be dying, the breakdown of the pulpal tissue and blood is released into your tooth’s dentin. Once a root canal is performed, there are procedures available to whiten your tooth.

Warning signs #5: A small bump (on the gums) near the area of pain

Similar to the feeling of tender gums, you may also notice a small “pimple-like” bump on your gums. Often referred to as a gum boil, this often indicates that your gums or tooth are infected. This type of bump if often your body’s way of reducing pressure from the dental infection. Once your dentist verifies that the infection is within the tooth itself, a root canal will be necessary.

I Need a Root Canal, What Can I Expect?

There is no need to fear a root canal. Although it can be a daunting experience, once the procedure is completed, you will feel an overwhelming sense of relief. After numbing the area, a professional dentist will make a small hole in order to access the inside of the tooth itself.

At this point, they will be able to clean the pulp chamber. Since all of the contents are removed, your tooth will no longer feel any pain. Once the problematic contents are removed and your tooth’s interior canals are empty, your tooth will be sealed. Most often, the canals are filled and then a dental crown is fixed to the tooth.

Are you concerned that you need a root canal, or you simply have questions about your current oral health? If so, please contact one of our offices today!

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