Five Signs That You Need A Root Canal
- March 20, 2016
You are a little worried. The dentist has told you that he wants to perform a root canal treatment on one of your teeth.
You start thinking about rumors that you’ve heard: Root canals hurt. Root canals make people sick. You should just have your tooth pulled instead of having a root canal.
At Gentle Dental Care, we want you to know that those first two statements are not based on fact, and the third one actually depends on the condition of your tooth.
If you come to our office in Plainville, CT, our dentist can examine the tooth that is causing your problems. You can trust him if he tells you that you need a root canal treatment.
If you are debating whether you need to see the dentist, you should ask if you are experiencing one or more of the following five signs that you may need a root canal.
1. Severe toothaches
The reason people need a root canal treatment is because the pulp on the inside of their teeth is infected.
When bacteria eat into the outer layers of your teeth, it generally doesn’t cause pain at first. The outer layers of your teeth don’t have any nerves, so there is nothing to send a signal to the pain receptors in your brain.
When the bacteria reaches the innermost part of your tooth, it is in the area where the nerves are, along with the pulp and the blood vessels that bring nutrients to your tooth. The infected pulp affects your nerves, which can cause a toothache, especially when you are eating or applying pressure to your infected tooth.
2. Increased tooth sensitivity
Many people enjoy a hot cup of coffee to start their morning or a cozy cup of cocoa on a cold winter evening. That experience becomes much less enjoyable when your tooth is sensitive to the heat.
When all your teeth are healthy, the heat from your drink doesn’t come in contact with the pulp. In an infected tooth, you may have an opening that allows that hot drink to literally touch a nerve.
Heat isn’t the only thing that can affect your tooth. You may notice an increased sensitivity to cold, sweets, and air as well.
3. A dark or discolored tooth
If you have tooth decay, it is eating away at your tooth. As your tooth decays, it may turn yellow, brown, or black.
This is something you may notice in the mirror, or someone else may call it to your attention either by how they react when seeing your teeth or by asking you about it.
Even if you aren’t feeling pain, dark spots are a good reason to make an appointment with our dentist.
4. Swollen or tender gums
Tooth decay isn’t the only thing that can damage your teeth. Gum disease is another common culprit that may lead you to need a root canal treatment.
As gum disease grows, you may develop pockets in your gums. Bacteria, plaque, and tartar can build inside these pockets. If one of these pockets is close to the root of a tooth, it may start to eat away at your tooth from underneath your gumline.
In a real way, your roots are more vulnerable to bacteria than the crown of your tooth. The crown is covered with enamel, which is the hardest substance on the human body. Roots are covered with cementum, which is softer than enamel.
Since the roots of your teeth are not as thick as the crowns, it doesn’t take as long for bacteria to eat into your root canal, where it can infect the pulp.
5. An abscessed tooth
An abscess is a pus-filled sac. These can form at the tip of the root of your tooth. An abscess may form because the nerves inside your tooth are dying.
Typically, abscesses are quite painful. If you haven’t been to the dentist before this develops, this will likely be what convinces you that you need help.
The best way to avoid a root canal treatment is taking preventive action. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Floss daily. Visit Gentle Dental Care for routine cleanings and examinations.
We will watch for signs of tooth decay and gum disease so we can treat them as soon as possible. And we will notice if we see something more serious. If we recommend a root canal, it’s either because we want to end the pain you are experiencing or because we want to take action before you start feeling any pain.
If you have any of the symptoms described above, you need to schedule a visit to our dentist office in Plainville, CT, as soon as you can. Call 860-479-2397 or fill out our online form to make your appointment.