Anybody who’s undergone a root canal can attest that the process is no fun; but oftentimes, the procedure is critical to ensuring tooth and gum health if other problems are at play. Even those who have been told they may need a root canal in the future may not know how to decide when to take the plunge. This post will serve to ease the mind of concerned individuals and offer some insight into the proper timing of a root canal procedure.
Signs and Symptoms You May Need a Root Canal
Tip-offs that you may need work done
There are a few key signs pointing towards the need for a root canal (or a re-do of a previous root canal) that you can be on the lookout for; but if you know that certain risk factors apply to you, you can work to mitigate the likelihood of needing a root canal. Try to avoid:
- Especially tooth decay penetrating the outer layers of the teeth
- Damage can be a precursor to decay
If you aren’t lucky enough to evade the need for a root canal procedure, you’ll likely experience some symptoms before it becomes apparent that you need treatment. Be on the lookout for
- Severe tooth pain while eating
- Or when pressure is applied
- Tooth sensitivity to heat and/or cold
- Especially if it lingers even once stimuli are removed
- Abnormal appearance of gums near the sore tooth
- Small bumps
- Tenderness of gums near the store tooth
When do Things Become Critical?
When to act quickly
While root canal issues should always be dealt with swiftly, there are times when getting a root canal out of the way can be more urgent than others. If your tooth and gum pain becomes severe to the point that inhibits day-to-day activities, seeing a dentist should be high on your priority list. The appearance of the aforementioned bumps on the gums should also ring alarm bells– it’s a sign that a tooth infection is at play.
If at any time your tooth becomes discolored following other symptoms of root canal trouble (like pain and swelling), you should likely be phoning into your dentist’s office. When teeth turn from white to darker shades, it’s indicative of severe damage to the tooth’s root. This can be very detrimental and should prompt medical attention right away.
The Root Canal Process
A brief overview
Your dentist will begin the root canal process by taking an x-ray to assess the extent of damage done to your tooth. This x-ray will also allow your dentist to get an idea for the extent of any infection that’s causing trouble. Following this, you’ll receive a local anesthetic to numb any areas susceptible to pain in your mouth. Your dentist will place a sheet of rubber (a rubber dam) over the problem tooth to ensure it stays dry.
After you’ve been numbed, your dentist will get to work! They’ll get started on drilling an access hole in your tooth that will allow them to reach and remove the damaged nerve (as well as any other damaged tissue). As soon as this infected material is gone, you’ll either receive a temporary filling or have your tooth sealed immediately with a rubber compound and a filling. In some cases, capping with a crown is necessary.
If you feel that you may in need of a root canal, contact our office today. Our friendly, knowledgeable team will be glad to address your concerns and get you set up with an appointment to meet a dentist. Before you know it, your teeth will be as good as new!