The idea of having a root canal can seem frightening and painful; however, it’s neither of these. Root canals are one of the most common types of dental procedures conducted and in many cases, they are crucial to help save your natural teeth.
If you are experiencing pain in your tooth, or if a dental professional finds an infection within your tooth through an x-ray, you may require a root canal procedure treatment. In many cases, a number of signs and symptoms indicating the need for root canal treatment may appear.
It’s important to know what to look for and when it might be time to visit a dental professional to get an expert opinion before the problem worsens.
What is root canal treatment?
When we smile, the white enamel of our teeth can be seen. Beneath the enamel, there’s a hard layer known as dentin, under which the soft tissue of the tooth — known as the pulp — can be found.
The pulp of the tooth plays an important role as the tooth grows and develops; however, once the tooth has reached maturity, it’s capable of surviving without the pulp. When harmful bacteria build-up inside of your mouth, they can penetrate your tooth and infect the pulp.
The pulp of the tooth plays an important role as the tooth grows and develops, however, once the tooth has reached maturity, it’s capable of surviving without the pulp. When harmful bacteria build-up inside of your mouth, they can penetrate your tooth and infect the pulp.
Root canal treatment aims to eliminate the bacteria from the infected root canal by removing the infected pulp and thoroughly cleaning out the canals of the tooth. Once the infection is removed, and the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, it is filled in and sealed to prevent any reinfection. The goal of root canal treatment is to save the natural tooth at all costs.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
When the soft tissue inside the canals of your teeth, also known as the pulp, becomes inflamed and infected, treatment is required to keep the problem from worsening. If the inflamed or infected pulp is left untreated, it can cause pain or result in the formation of an abscess. Inflammation or infection of the pulp can be caused by:
- Tooth decay which has spread deep into your tooth
- Multiple dental procedures
- Crack or chip in your tooth
- Injury to the tooth
In some cases, you may not experience any symptoms prompting you to take a trip down to the dentist for a check-up. Although this may seem ideal, it can be detrimental in some cases. This is because your infected tooth may go unnoticed until the infection worsens and requires more intensive treatment.
Alternatively, you may experience a few symptoms that raise some red flags for you. Keeping an eye out for any unusual symptoms is important to catch any problems before they progress any further. If you are unsure whether you require a root canal, there are a few symptoms that may be present and should be noted.
You may require a root canal if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Pain during chewing or biting
The intensity of the pain you experience can range from mild to severe and may decrease at some times and intensify at others.
- A chipped or cracked tooth
A chipped or cracked tooth can mean that the pulp of your tooth has also experienced some damage and may have to be removed. Additionally, a cracked or chipped tooth can make it easy for infection-causing bacteria to hide and grow in the new crevices of your teeth.
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
Normally when we eat or drink something that’s cold or hot, we experience a natural and normal reaction from our teeth. However, this sensitivity disappears once the hot or cold stimulus is removed. If you continue to experience a lingering sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, even after the stimulus is removed, it may be a sign that you require a root canal.
Other symptoms include:
- Swollen or tender gums
- Pimples or small bumps on the gums
- Darkening of the gums
- Decay which has spread deep into the tooth
Whether you experience symptoms of a root canal or not, having your teeth regularly examined by a dental professional and professionally cleaned is essential to maintain good oral health and detect any concerns before they progress. Don’t wait until you experience significant pain and discomfort before you seek help.
I’m experiencing symptoms…. What should I do now?
Your symptoms may lead you to a dental professional, especially if the pain is difficult to manage. When you come in for your appointment, the first step will be to examine your tooth. This can be done by taking an x-ray to diagnose the cause of the problem.
If it turns out that you do require root canal treatment, it will be performed by a dental professional under local anesthesia. Most root canal procedures can be completed in either one or two visits to the dentist.
The first visit involves the actual root canal procedure where the infected pulp is removed. The second visit involves a thorough cleaning of the canals of your tooth and then filling your tooth with a crown or other filling to prevent any future infections. Each visit will last approximately 90 minutes.
Don’t let pain and sensitivity in your teeth and gums interfere with your daily activities. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, you may require a root canal.
To find out more about whether you may need a root canal, call Oakville Place Dental at 905-842-6030 or contact us here.