tooth anatomy on blue background.

How do you know if you need a root canal?

Root canals are one of the most common procedures performed in the dental office. The procedure can be done in about an hour and provides quick and efficient pain relief of a tooth that is bothering you. The need for a root canal can stem from a variety of different reasons, but treatment is the same and should be done as soon as you notice there is a problem. With early treatment, you can prevent the development of an infection and the need for further care.

What is a Root Canal?
A root canal involves the complete and total removal of the inner pulp of a tooth. Each of your teeth has a pulp inside, which houses the nerves and blood supply for that particular tooth. When decay is allowed to reach the pulp or if a tooth has broken or cracked enough to expose the pulp, a root canal should be performed. During the root canal, the pulp is removed from the tooth and the canals of the roots are filled with a specialty medicated material. Root canals are done to preserve the actual tooth and prevent the need for an extraction.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal
While one of the only conclusive ways to tell if you need a root canal is with an exam and x-ray, there are other signs to look out for. Keep in mind that these signs may indicate other problems, like severe sensitivity that can be resolved with desensitizing agents or even just a simple cavity. The only real way to tell if a root canal is needed is with a comprehensive examination and dental x-ray. If you find yourself taking over-the-counter pain medications more than just once a day for a toothache, it’s time to be seen for the problem. Spme things to look for that could signal the need for a root canal include:

• Sensitivity to Hot and Cold
• Severe Tooth Pain
• Darkening of a Tooth
• Swollen Gums
• Cracked or Fractured Tooth
• Throbbing or Sharp Toothache

Why Treatment is Necessary
If treatment is ignored, the inner pulp can become infected and further care is needed to clear the infection before any work can be done. Likewise, a root canal that is ignored can cause severe pain and sensitivity, making it difficult for you to enjoy life without focusing on how your tooth feels. Root canals may be frightening to some, but they are incredibly simple and beneficial procedures to the health of your teeth. They effectively remove the pulp, which in turn eliminates any pain and sensitivity that you’re experiencing so that you can get back to your day.

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