What Are Some Signs and Symptoms That You Need Root Canal Care?
Root canal treatment eliminates bacteria from a damaged and infected tooth pulp (The pulp is the center of the tooth, including the nerve and blood supply.) to save a natural tooth. It clears and seals the canal space from a further tooth infection, protects any remaining teeth from a spreading infection or increased strain and wear if the tooth was lost, with the goal to maintain the most natural-appearing smile with efficient chewing.
Root canal treatment is required when there is inflammation or infection in the soft tissue inside the root canal. If you need a root canal, the only other choice is tooth removal. If pulp infection or inflammation is not treated in time (as quickly as a problem is detected), it can cause pain or an abscess. An abscess is a localized site of infection. Pain may or may not be associated with the abscess. Regardless of any pain, your mouth needs care, and it is not in a state of health!
You might need a root canal if you experience any of these symptoms:
1. Tooth Sensitivity
If you have tooth sensitivity, a sensitivity that comes and goes, feelings of short, prolonged, or sharp pain when you eat or consume hot or cold beverages, a root canal may be required. This pain or discomfort may occur for an extended or a long period of time, even after you stop drinking or eating. Tooth sensitivity may be a sign of damaged or infected tooth nerves and blood vessels.
2. Tender or Swollen Gums
Swollen gums may bulge out or protrude. The swelling of the gums can be where the gums meet the tooth or anywhere the full length of the tooth. Swollen gums appear red instead of pink and may or may not be painful when you touch the area. Swelling is a sign of active infection. Sometimes, if the bone is thin enough, a little blister can pop, and pus can drain in your mouth. The draining pimple is called a parulis. The tooth needs to be treated to clear this infection so that there is no continuing bone damage and you are not swallowing infection and bacteria any longer.
3. Consistent Pain
Persistent tooth pain is an indication that you might have an infection or inflammation in your tooth. A root canal is required to treat the pain caused by an infected or inflamed tooth. Besides an infection or inflammation, these factors can cause tooth pain:
- Damaged or leaking filling
- Gum disease especially associated with bone loss
- Pain thought to be caused by a sinus infection
- Deep and or extensive cavities (decay)
- A cracked or impacted tooth
4. Discolored Tooth
An infected tooth pulp, breakdown of the internal tissue, or trauma to the tooth can cause tooth discoloration. A root canal is recommended if there is an infection in the tooth pulp or improper blood supply that can cause tooth pulp to die. After root canal treatment, the tooth thankfully can be whitened to restore your smile.
5. A Cracked or Chipped Tooth
Your tooth can be cracked or chipped from an accident, eating hard foods, or being involved in a contact sport. If your tooth is chipped or cracked, bacteria can accumulate and cause an infection or inflammation. A root canal is needed to treat the pain and sensitivity caused by an infected or inflamed tooth and prevent further infection.
6. Tooth Mobility
An infected tooth can feel loose, and a loose tooth can be caused by nerve death. A loose tooth can be an indication that a root canal is required. After the infection is cleared, the tooth and surrounding ligaments will often tighten back up in the socket or additional care may be required.
7. Pain When You Eat or Touch the Tooth
Experiencing pain when you eat or touch a tooth can be a sign of severe nerve damage or tooth decay, which may require root canal treatment.
8. Severe Wear
Extensive wear can be a fast or slow process. If slow, it’s possible that one does not seek professional dental care until an extensive amount of tooth structure has been lost. When this happens, the enamel or protective outer covering of the tooth is worn away, and dentin, the next layer under the enamel, is exposed. This dentin exposure usually does NOT cause much sensitivity until there is an acute issue, and the nerve is finally affected. There may be wear directly into the pulp chamber (one can see a pink dot), or the wear usually does not have to be so severe for the onset of symptoms. Once this happens, sometimes multiple root canal treatments are indicated to bring the mouth back to health.
Most teeth with root canals need to have full coverage coverings to increase their strength for chewing back to as close as possible to a virgin tooth. When a tooth has a root canal due to wear, this is generally the case that it will need a crown to not only cover the tooth to protect it for chewing but also to replace all the missing tooth structure due to wear.
If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and root canal treatment can save your tooth from severe damage.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get the right treatment for your infected tooth.
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