At Hebert Family Dentistry we strive to provide all of our patients with the best in dental care and support. A common question we receive from patients – how do you know if you need a root canal? A root canal is a common dental treatment however, you may be hesitant to undergo treatment if you don’t know if it is needed. While you may not always detect the underlying issues that make a root canal necessary, the associated symptoms are usually a clear sign that something is wrong with your teeth.
Oral Root Canals Explained
While the exterior of your teeth is quite durable, the interior is made of softer tissue that can become infected. These infections often occur due to prolonged cavities that have been left untreated or damage to your teeth. Once bacteria enters your tooth it can do notable damage over a prolonged period. A root canal removes bacteria and decay from your tooth nerve, root, and pulp. After this is done the area is disinfected, any empty roots are properly filled, and a seal is applied to prevent problems from reoccurring.
When A Root Canal is Needed
How to know if you need a root canal is often accomplished by noticing the associated symptoms.
Persistent Tooth Pain
Tooth pain that does not seem to be going away can be a sign you need a root canal. The pain doesn’t need to occur at all times, it can come and go, but the key sign is that it never fully goes away. This type of pain is generally focused around the face, jaw, or deep within the tooth. There can be other causes such as a damaged filling, a cavity, or other such issues. A dental checkup will be able to tell you what the underlying cause is.
A Loose Tooth
When bacteria infect the pulp and other internal parts of your tooth it can cause the tooth to become loose. This is because acidic wastes can cause the bone that supports your tooth to soften, or the root could be dying due to advanced decay.
Teeth Discoloration Signs
Internal infections can lead to the damaged tooth becoming discolored. The prolonged damage that infection can cause results in the internal tissue of the tooth breaking down and the tooth slowly taking on a gray or black appearance. This symptom is typically easier to see in your front teeth.
This issue can occur due to hot foods, cold foods, or both. This sensitivity feels like a sharp pain or a dull ache but no matter the sensation it is one you will notice. This pain can also linger long after you have finished drinking or eating your food. Typically, temperature sensitivity is caused by damage to your tooth’s blood vessels or nerves.
Tooth Pain When Eating
In addition to temperature sensitivity, general pain when you eat is another symptom to watch for. If your tooth hurts when eating this can be a sign of decay or nerve damage. This pain results from the pulp inside your tooth dying, leading to irritation and other damage. This type of pain also tends to linger even after you have finished your meal.
Your Gums are Swollen
If swollen gums are occurring near the painful tooth that can be a sign that a root canal may be needed. Symptoms can vary; the swelling may be painful to touch or not hurt at all. Another sign to look out for is a gum boil or abscess. These abscesses may leak pus leading to bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
When You Need Dental Care
At Hebert Family Dentistry we are committed to providing you the best in dental care. We strive not only to treat dental issues but also to inform all our patients about the best approach to their dental health and answer any questions they may have. Reach out to us today to schedule your appointment or to learn more.