28 Oct 5 Common Signs You Need a Root Canal
The signs of needing a root canal can easily be ignored. In fact, you may try to ignore them for a while. However, if you have damage inside a tooth that needs a root canal, you could lose the tooth if you wait too long. Knowing the most common signs of needing a root canal can help you to determine when to call an endodontist.
Why You Might Need a Root Canal
Root canal therapy eliminates bacteria that eat away at the interior of the tooth and bone. This bacteria can enter your tooth through a crack, chip, or deep decay. If you fail to schedule a root canal when your endodontist recommends it, you risk losing the tooth due to erosion of the supportive structure.
Root canals also treat tooth pulp that has experienced damage from the tooth getting knocked out of the mouth or pushed farther into the gums. Both types of trauma may necessitate root canal treatment after the endodontist stabilizes the tooth in place.
A root canal is a non-surgical procedure to treat tooth pulp damaged by trauma or infection. When an endodontist performs a root canal, they remove the pulp, including the nerve, from the tooth while leaving the roots intact. After clearing the tooth of infected matter, they seal off and fill the canals inside the tooth.
How Do You Know If You Need a Root Canal
Sometimes, a tooth will exhibit symptoms that indicate an internal problem. Root canal therapy fixes infections and inflammation inside the tooth. Hence, if you notice any of these common symptoms, you might need a root canal.
However, watch out for self-diagnosis when evaluating your symptoms. Instead of deciding you need a root canal, go to an endodontist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendation. Another type of treatment may better serve your dental needs.
Pain is one of the ways your body uses to alert you of a problem. Pay attention to more than the presence of pain. Look at the time it lasts and the circumstances that trigger it.
For example, A brief burst of pain when you bite down may not need a root canal. However, if you have pain that disappears and reappears later, persistent pain, or pain when biting down, you need to see an endodontist.
Endodontists have extra training to learn more about diagnosing and treating dental pain and the pulp inside the tooth. Because these doctors can help with dental pain, which often originates inside the tooth, they can ensure that you have a painless experience as they seek a remedy for your tooth problem.
2. Lingering Sensitivity to Temperature Extremes
When you remove the source, brief sensitivity to heat or cold should go away immediately. The sensitivity associated with needing a root canal often lasts 30 to 60 seconds or longer, even after you stop eating.
If you have pain or sensitivity in a tooth every time you ingest something hot or cold, such as ice or coffee, you may need a root canal. The only way to know is a trip to an endodontist.
3. Cracked or Traumatized Tooth
In some cases, you may not experience pain when you need root canal therapy, but you still need repair to your tooth’s interior. Traumatic injuries or cracks often require root canal therapy since these types of trauma can harm the tooth pulp.
Cracks allow infectious germs into the tooth. Root canal therapy removes the bacteria and any infected pulp to save the tooth from permanent loss.
Avulsed (knocked-out) teeth or dislodged (pushed-in) teeth often have internal damage. An endodontist will likely perform root canal therapy on them to ensure the health and stability of these teeth after replacing them in the gums.
4. Gum Swelling or Pimple on the Gums
Redness or swelling in your gums could indicate gum disease if it occurs across all your gums. However, localized redness or swelling may indicate an infection in the gum or near the tooth roots.
Sometimes, this swelling may appear like a pimple on the gums. Do not try to pop this pimple. Go to an endodontist instead. You may need a root canal if you have an infection in your tooth.
In some cases, if the endodontist cannot remove all the infection from the tooth with root canal therapy, they may need to perform root end surgery called apicoectomy. This type of surgery cuts through the gums so the doctor can access the tips of the tooth roots and clear the infection from those parts of the tooth.
5. Darkening of a Single Tooth
Tooth stains have several causes, such as eating berries or drinking tea. However, these staining substances typically affect all your teeth, causing a uniform change in color. Often, whitening products or procedures from your dentist can correct this all-over staining.
If only one tooth changes color, it likely has an internal problem, such as nerve damage. Before you cover up the signs of damage with a cosmetic dental solution, go to your endodontist. They will take X-rays or other imaging to see if you need a root canal to repair the internal damage. Only after you have your tooth fixed on the inside by an endodontist can you return to your dentist to get a veneer or dental composite to correct the darker color of the tooth.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
If you need a root canal, you will have a simple, non-surgical procedure that you can return to school or work immediately after. The endodontist will use local anesthesia to stop you from feeling pain during the procedure and for a few hours afterward. Because this medicine only numbs the mouth, you don’t have to worry about impairment that could impact your ability to drive, work, or make decisions.
To start the process, the doctor will set you up for a successful procedure. This setup includes numbing your mouth, placing a dental dam around the tooth treated, and preparing their instruments.
While some dentists use drills and files to open a tooth to access the canals inside, others use high-tech alternatives, such as the Gentlewave. This system uses sound waves and fluid movement to clean the root canals more efficiently. The movement of sound and water reaches deeper into the tiniest of canals in the tooth, ensuring the complete removal of bacteria from the tooth. Since the endodontist does not insert files inside the tooth when using the Gentlewave, you avoid the complication of having a tool break off in the tooth.
If you had pain before the root canal, after the process, you should quickly begin to feel better. Additionally, thanks to the Gentlewave system, you’ll likely have a speedier recovery. A survey of patients found that 96.6% of those who had a root canal with the Gentlewave had little to no pain only 48 hours after the procedure.
The Gentlewave cleans out the root canals and removes infected pulp quickly, usually in one visit. After the endodontist finishes cleaning the inside of the tooth, they will seal and fill it.
You may need a follow-up visit with your endodontist after the initial root canal treatment. Make sure to keep this because this time is when the doctor determines if your tooth has healed properly.
Come See Our Trusted Team at Southwest Endodontics If You Experience Any Signs of Needing a Root Canal
If you think you need a root canal because you notice any of the above signs or symptoms, contact an endodontist for care. At Southwest Endodontics, we serve the suburbs to the southwest of Chicago with our locations in Geneva and Orland Park, IL. Contact your closest location to schedule a visit as soon as you can. The sooner you get your tooth examined and treated, the faster you’ll feel relief from your dental discomfort.