At Innovative Endodontics, we get asked many things by our patients. A common concern question is, “How do you know if you need a root canal?” The best answer is that a person cannot determine this for themselves.
However, there are some signs that you can watch for to know if you need dental or endodontic treatment, including root canal therapy. The more you know about root canal therapy, the less frightening the procedure is. With this treatment, you could save your smile.
Root canal therapy treats the tooth by removing damaged or infected pulp from the inside. The infection or damage directly impacts the nerve inside the tooth, which may cause discomfort. In fact, some patients only go to the dentist because they experience discomfort in or around a tooth.
By removing the infected material from the canals, an endodontist can stop the spread of infection and save the tooth from extraction.
Several dental symptoms will appear when you have something wrong with your teeth or gums. However, these signs should prompt you to make an appointment with your dentist for an evaluation to determine the type of treatment you need.
Pain in your teeth, jaw, or face could indicate anything from a sinus headache to tooth decay. If you have mild or moderate pain for more than a day or experience severe pain at any time, see your dentist as soon as possible.
Tooth sensitivity, especially if you’ve never experienced it before, is something you need to talk to your dentist about.
Some indicators of irreversible inflammation of the nerve include lingering hot and/or cold sensitivity. This sensitivity often persists for a minute or longer after removing the cause. So, if you can’t eat ice cream without sensitivity and that persists after you finish eating, you should see your dentist, who will see if you need a root canal.
Look for changes in the gums. An infected tooth may present as a bubble on the gums. Inflammation, discoloration, and swelling in the gum are all signs of serious problems. Get a dental exam to see if you need root canal therapy or have another issue that requires treatment.
Changes in the appearance of a tooth can also indicate internal damage. Discoloration in a single tooth is less likely to be a stain and more likely to be a sign of needing root canal therapy. Similarly, if you have a chipped or broken tooth, you may need root canal treatment to remove any damaged pulp from inside the tooth.
In instances when you require root canal therapy, it is likely the only option to save your tooth. The alternative to root canal treatment is most often extraction. Having your tooth removed will leave an empty space, which may result in neighboring teeth shifting.
If you choose extraction and an implant, the process is longer to restore the area.
When you have symptoms that suggest root canal treatment may be needed, your dentist will either treat or refer you to an endodontist, depending on the exam results.
When you visit your dentist, they will conduct a thorough exam and imaging of the tooth. If you have inflamed, damaged, or infected pulp, you will need root canal treatment to remove it.
While some dentists perform root canal treatments, an Endodontist is a specialist in the field. Endodontists complete multiple root canals a day and have advanced training in the field.
At the endodontist, you’ll have more images of your tooth taken. These images allow for proper diagnosis, treatment planning, and prognosis. Root canal treatment is very similar to having a dental filling done.
Immediately after the treatment, you may feel minor discomfort after the local anesthesia wears off. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to control any discomfort, which typically lasts only a few days. Once your tooth heals, you should not have any pain or discomfort in the tooth.
After healing, a crown may be recommended by your dentist or endodontist. Talk to your endodontist if you are uncertain about when to go back to your dentist or if you need a crown on your tooth.
If you experience any signs of possible dental problems, go to your dentist. They will examine your tooth through an exam and imaging to determine whether you need root canal treatment.
If you do, ask for a referral to us at Innovative Endodontics. We specialize in working toward changing the reputation of root canals by offering comforting care and painless procedures. Contact us for more information about our practice or to schedule an appointment.