What Are Signs You Need A Root Canal?

A root canal is a restorative dental procedure to clean out the severe infection or decay of the soft core of the tooth.

Your teeth have an enamel layer, a middle layer of dentin, and a soft inner core. The dental pulp, which consists of tooth nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels, is found in the core. It extends into the tooth roots in your jawbone. When the decay spreads into the tooth’s interior, the pulp becomes infected, inflamed, or even necrotic. That’s when a root canal is required!

So, what are the signs you need a root canal? Read on to learn about the telltale symptoms of the root canal.

What is Root Canal?

Root canal treatment, also referred to as endodontic therapy, is a procedure designed to remove bacteria residing in the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth, and preserve the natural tooth. It is performed by a trained general dentist or a dental specialist called an endodontist. When you undergo a root canal therapy, the dentist will:

  • completely remove infected or inflamed tooth pulp and carefully clean the inside of the tooth
  • disinfect the empty root canal with antibiotics
  • fill in the root canal, and
  • seal the opening of a root canal to prevent further decay.

After a root canal, your teeth may become fragile. That’s why the dentist places a tooth cap called a dental crown over the treated tooth.  

How Do You Know If You Need a Root Canal?

The only way to ensure that a root canal is necessary is by paying a visit to your dentist or endodontist. But, there are many warning signs to look out for which indicate the need for a root canal. Usually, these physical symptoms are noticeable when the condition has advanced. This is why regular dental check-ups are a must.

If you experience any of the signs or symptoms of needing a root canal, you must visit your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you are treated for a badly decayed or infected tooth, the better the outcome of the treatment will be. Here are the 5 signs you need a root canal:

1.  Persistent Severe Tooth Pain

Your toothache will bother you all the time or will keep on pulsating from time to time. It is usually spontaneous (intermittent or continuous). You may feel a sharp pain in your tooth that goes deep in the jawbone and radiates to the other teeth, face, or jaw. The pain intensity may change when you change your posture. It may be so intense that you cannot sleep at night. A specific stimulus like pressure, thermal insult, or tapping can trigger your pain which cannot be fully eliminated by painkillers. You can easily indicate a painful area inside your mouth.

2.  Inflammation of Your Gums And Tenderness

Gum inflammation could be a symptom of mild infection at the root of the tooth. Swelling usually occurs in front of the painful tooth, near the root tip. It can last a few days or several months. Pronounced swelling can be of any size, from barely noticeable to an obvious lump that can be easily felt. The gums may feel tender or not painful to touch. You may even have a pimple at the tip of the tooth’s root. This is called a gum boil, abscess, or parulis. The pimple may ooze out pus and result in a foul breath odor and an unpleasant taste. If your abscess has infected your lymph nodes, you are bound to have swelling in your neck and head. Your gums may even recede. This would make the problematic tooth appear taller than the adjacent teeth.

3.  Prolonged Tooth Sensitivity To Heat And Cold

You may feel a dull ache or sharp pain in your tooth all of a sudden when you sip hot beverages or eat ice cream. This sensitivity may linger on even after you stop eating or drinking something hot or cold. 

4.  Chipped or Cracked Tooth

When a tooth gets cracked open or chipped due to physical trauma, it can expose the tooth nerves to saliva. As a result, the tooth’s root can become infected and the infection can spread further through the bloodstream. A root canal can replace the broken pulp chamber with a filling or maybe a dental crown. This way, you can prevent infection or pain.     

5.  Darkening of The Tooth or Discoloration in The Gums

Your tooth may appear greyish-black because of nerve and blood vessel damage beneath the tooth’s surface. A dark patch may even be noticed on the gums near the tooth’s root tip. It happens because of infected or injured tooth pulp. When there is inadequate blood supply, the tooth pulp dies. This signals a possible need for a root canal to remove the damaged tooth’s root.
Are you are experiencing any signs that you need a root canal? Consult now with the best endodontist in Chicago at The Dental Specialist (TDS).

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