When Is a Root Canal Treatment Necessary?
One of the last things that anyone wants to hear when visiting their dentist or endodontist is that they need to have a root canal. While it does promise to relieve you of the discomfort of an infected tooth, it is still a scary ordeal, especially to those who are new to the procedure. While the anticipation of a root canal can cause some anxiety, it is essential to remember that it is recommended for your own good. Root canals save thousands of teeth every year and enable people to go on with their day to day lives normally, without pain or complications.
However, before we lose sleep over the possibility of a root canal, it is crucial to understand what a root canal is and when it is necessary.
What Is A Root Canal?
Root Canals are dental procedures used to repair and save teeth that have become infected or decayed. The alternative to a root canal is removal, which later leads to more dental work to protect the form and functionality of the mouth. To avoid this, dentists opt for a root canal whenever possible. The process involves drilling a hole into the infected tooth and removing the pulp of the tooth. Once the pulp is removed, the tooth is cleaned out, shaped, filled, and sealed.
Importance of the Procedure
Root canals are usually the best option in cases of a periapical abscess (infected tooth). These infections can be quite painful and discomforting to patients who suffer from them. In addition to physical discomfort, these abscesses are quite infectious and can spread to other tissues, causing further problems. Root canal treatment is done to eliminate infection and also prevent the possibility of future re-infection.
When is it Necessary?
The warning signs of an infected tooth are hard to miss. If you are experiencing some pain or discomfort in your tooth, it might be time to start planning a visit to the dentist. Some of the warning signs of needing a root canal are:
- A persistent, throbbing, or severe toothache – possible radiation to the surrounding vicinity.
- Extreme sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures.
- Extreme sensitivity to any pressure applied to the location – such as during biting or chewing.
- Possible fever.
- Swelling around the tooth – cheeks, and face.
- Swelling and tenderness in lymph nodes.
- Persistent foul smell or taste.
- Difficulties swallowing and sometimes breathing.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be prepared for a root canal or extraction. It is important to not ignore the pain in hopes that it will subside. The best thing to do is to visit a dental professional to get your tooth/teeth checked. They will be able to diagnose the situation and prescribe the best course of action. Root canal treatments are usually necessary when the check-up confirms that the tooth is infected. An x-ray can be used to see the state of the pulp and determine how far the infection has spread.
Root canals have become a routine procedure in the dental world. Advancements in techniques and equipment have made the procedure less painful and more efficient. If you suspect that you are in need of a root canal, it is best not to ignore any symptoms. Set up an appointment with your dentist and start working on the problem as soon as possible.