Two words, 4 letters and 5 letters, everyone’s worst nightmare. You guessed it: root canal. I’m here to tell you that they aren’t so bad! As long as you get the tooth checked out right away, extreme measures can be avoided.
A root canal is a procedure to replace infected pulp in a root canal. It originally stems from a tooth infection. Since the pulp is trapped inside the tooth and cannot swell, the pain becomes intense as the root end up cutting off its’ own blood supply. Decaying tissue and bacteria leak out of the bottom of the tooth.
Pain is an obvious first sign of a needing a root canal. Other signs include swelling or tenderness of gums. The type of pain you feel can be an indicator of requiring a root canal. Extreme sensitivity to cold is a common sign of infection or the death of the pulp. Also, cracks in the tooth can allow bacteria to reach the interior. To treat the damage, your dentist can do a root canal to remove the pulp from the tooth’s roots and pulp chamber, treat any infection, and fill the tooth. You will then need a crown over the tooth.
The death of a tooth’s tissue isn’t always painful. It is commonly unnoticed! The nerve’s death may have been so mild or the pain could have happened long ago and subsided. Dentists can find the need for a root canal through:
- X-rays: Routine dental x-rays are important for this reason. With an x- ray, the tooth will present a small dark spot at the bottom of the root. This type of indication is a sign that changes have occurred in the bone in this region, due to its response to the infection going on within the tooth.
- Lesions in gums: An infection in the tooth may cause a small bump in the gum tissue. Its’ location usually tells where the infection is located.
- Darkened tooth: One darkened tooth usually shows that change has taken place within nerve space.
- Exposure of nerve: A dentist can actually make contact with the nerve if it is exposed. Exposure can lead to pulp tissue degeneration.
If you notice any symptoms mentioned, contact your dentist as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more severe it can become.