Root canals have an unfairly bad reputation. Known for intense pain and swelling, patients often grimace at even the thought of a root canal. However, it’s not the root canal treatment that causes pain; it’s the infection in the tooth that leaves patients clutching their jaw in fear.
To help take the fear out of the root canal treatment, it is helpful to understand what causes the need for a root canal as well as what the root canal procedure looks like. First, a root canal is necessary when the inside portion of the tooth is damaged, either due to trauma or to a cavity that had gone undetected and untreated. This infection, deep inside the tooth and next to the tooth’s nerve causes great pain, and the only way to stop the pain is to clear the infection.
To eliminate the infection, the nerve and pulp of the tooth must be removed and thoroughly cleaned. Next, the tooth must be filled and sealed. It is important to note that the patient will lose feeling to the tooth because the nerve has been removed and that the tooth sealed so that it doesn’t decay further. However, losing the nerve doesn’t affect the function of the tooth. After teeth erupt through the gums, the only function of the nerves is to detect hot or cold sensations. Losing that feeling is a far better option than losing an entire tooth.
So, how do you know if you need a root canal?
Occasionally a patient will have no symptoms, and the only indication that a root canal is needed shows up on an x-ray. More often however, the patient has definite symptoms such as pain when chewing, or when pressure is applied; intense lingering sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures, even after removing the hot or cold item from the tooth; darkening of the tooth; tender or swollen gums; or a prolonged pimple on the gums.
If you have tooth pain or think a root canal might be necessary, don’t wait any longer to get help. Call the office of Pure Gold Professionals in Dentistry in Redlands, CA, today to schedule a visit. You shouldn’t have pain in your teeth, your gums, or your mouth and putting off the call won’t lessen the pain. Dr. Vines and his staff will ensure that you’re comfortable and informed, and that you leave with a healthy, pain-free mouth.