How do you know if you need a root canal? This can be a daunting question, especially if you’re not sure what a root canal procedure is. A root canal procedure does not have to be a frightening experience. In fact, it can save a damaged tooth. Let’s explain what a root canal procedures is, and some root canal symptoms you might experience if you require one.
When to Get a Root Canal: Symptoms and Treatments
What is a Root Canal?
First, what is a root canal? A root canal can actually refer to two different things. First, a root canal might refer to the naturally occurring space inside the tooth which contains the tooth pulp, blood vessels, nerves and other essential parts of the tooth. Second, a root canal more often refers to the procedure used to repair this part of a damaged tooth.
A root canal procedure can help to save a tooth that has been damaged by infection. A tooth infection can damage a tooth when bacteria enters through an untreated cavity, it can attack a tooth root directly, underneath the gums, or or can occur if the tooth was cracked or chipped due to an accident or impact. When infection invades the tooth root, the bacteria start to damage the living structures within the tooth, including the blood vessels and nerves which keep the tooth alive. A dentist or another professional can perform a root canal to clean the area and seal the tooth. This will remove the bacteria, stop any further damage, and prevent bacteria from repopulating.
Do I Need a Root Canal? Root Canal Symptoms
A root canal can stop the growth of bacteria and keep a tooth healthy. If you have a tooth infection or a dead tooth, a root canal might be another option besides tooth extraction. But how do you know if a root canal is the right option? Only your dentist or another dental professional can tell you for sure if a root canal is the best option for you, but if you have these symptoms, a root canal may be ideal.
If you are not sure whether or not you need a root canal, look for these symptoms:
- Pain in your jaw or near a tooth
- Swollen gums
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- Persistent or worsening sensitivity to heat or cold
- Discoloration of tooth or gums
- Chips or cracks in tooth
- Tooth feels loose
- Tooth is painful to touch or chew with
- Odd bumps appear on the gums
All of these are signs you may have a tooth infection or a dead tooth, which can be fixed with a root canal treatment. With a root canal treatment, you can keep your original tooth while still getting rid of the infection. This can be an more affordable option rather than a replacement tooth, especially if the tooth is visible near the front of the mouth.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
Root canal procedures are common and complications are rare. A root canal procedure uses anesthesia, so you should not feel any part of the procedure, but you will still be awake and responsive. If you are very nervous about the procedure or the pain, your dentist may prescribe oral sedatives, such as Valium, to make you feel more relaxed.
What to Expect From a Root Canal
You may feel some soreness or discomfort after the procedure. Over-the-counter painkillers are generally enough to manage this discomfort. If the bacterial infection around your tooth is severe, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to resolve it. Once the infection is resolved and the infected tissue within the tooth is removed, the tooth can be reinforced with another visit. This will probably require two or three visits to clean the tooth, fill and seal it, then reinforce and cap it. Afterwards, the infection will be gone and your tooth will look healthy and new again.
While a root canal takes a few visit to complete, this will create far less discomfort and stress than living with a tooth infection. A tooth infection is a serious condition that will not only damage one tooth, but it can also spread to other teeth, or other areas in your jaw, face, neck, and even your brain. If you experience any of the root canal symptoms mentioned above, see your dentist immediately.
If you are near Las Vegas, Henderson or Laughlin, Nevada, or Lake Havasu, Arizona, call us at (702) 388-8888 or schedule an appointment with Boston Dental Group. We accept most insurance plans, and can provide the financing you need for a root canal.