You may hear your dentist talk about a root canal in two ways. It can refer to the inner passages of your tooth between its roots and the pulp. It can also be a dental procedure to remove infection and alleviate pain and discomfort. In most cases, whenever your dentist talks about a root canal, it generally means you need one.
However, there are ways you can tell you need a root canal before your dentist picks it up at your regular check-up. What are those signs, and what happens next?
Root Canal Symptoms
Many symptoms indicate that your dentist might need to perform a root canal. Every time you eat or put pressure on your teeth, you might feel severe pain. If that food is hot or cold, you could even feel more sensitivity in that region than usual. Essentially, any pain for no reason can be a sign that something isn’t right.
Inspect your gums and see if you can notice anything else. Are there bumps in your gum near where you feel pain? Do some of your teeth appear darker than others? What about pain and swelling? These are all common signs of infection which may spell the need for your dentist to perform a root canal procedure.
Root Canal Procedure
During the procedure, they will take an x-ray, numb the area, then drill a hole into your tooth to remove the pulp tissue and damaged nerve. While the dentist is in the area, they will also clean out the infected material and seal the tooth. Depending on the damage, you may need a crown, filling, or another restorative option to finish the procedure.
Root Canal Pain Causes
Root canals can be a relatively painless procedure, but they are also preventable in the first place. There are three primary causes of root canal pain – disease, damage, and decay.
If you have tooth decay, then it can often penetrate the outer layers of your teeth. When that happens, it can cause root canal pain. Damage, on the other hand, can be in the form of cracks or chips which accelerate decay.
Disease can also cause root canal pain, which is a risk factor for tooth pulp infection. Trauma, a recent dental procedure, cracks, chips, and even large fillings can all put you at risk of disease and the need for a root canal.
Root canals are a common procedure that your dentist will perform several times every week. If you notice any signs of decay, infection, or disease, then there’s no time to waste. Make an appointment with your dentist and see if a root canal could be the best treatment option for you.