So you have a toothache, but you’re not exactly sure how serious it is. If it’s just a tiny crack, chances are, you only need a filling. If it’s much worse, then you might need more advanced treatment, like root canal therapy.
If they diagnose an infected pulp, your dentist might recommend root canal therapy, also known as endodontic therapy. That can happen because of bacteria from an untreated cavity. A root canal is a restorative dental procedure that repairs and saves the decayed and infected tooth.
Common signs you need root canal therapy
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your dentist about the possibility of a root canal treatment.
- Damaged tooth
If you have a cracked or broken tooth, possibly from an injury, this quickly leads to an infection. The trauma inflicted can cause damage to the tooth nerve, making it inflamed. Cracks also give more room for bacteria to settle in and infect the tooth.
- Temperature-sensitive tooth
If you feel pain from eating or drinking something too hot or too cold, that is a bad sign. Whether it’s a sharp, piercing pain or a dull, throbbing ache, you definitely should not ignore it. The pain could be a sign that you have an infected tooth nerve.
- Discoloured tooth
Infected tooth pulp can cause the entire tooth to become discoloured. The tooth turns into a grayish-black colour, no longer resembling a natural tooth. This discolouration happens because there’s no blood supply to the tooth pulp.
- Persistent pain
You might need a root canal if you still experience pain even when you’re not eating or drinking anything too hot or cold. The pain may come and go, but after some time, it always returns. Note the areas where you feel pain, like if it’s deep in your jaw or just on the tooth and surrounding area.
- Swollen gums
If swollen gums accompany your toothache, that is usually a clear sign that you will need root canal therapy. Just like the pain, the swelling may come and go. The gum area may be painful to touch and could be growing an abscess. If left untreated, this pimple-like bump will ooze the puss.
- Loose tooth
An infected tooth may feel loose as if you could almost pull it out with some force. There may be other issues with why your tooth is loose, so be sure to discuss other symptoms with your dentist.
Root canal vs extraction
Depending on your symptoms, your dentist will recommend either a root canal or a tooth extraction. Hopefully, your symptoms might not even be that severe, and you will just need a filling.
Generally, your dentist will recommend a root canal if they can still save the infected tooth. When the tooth gets cracked and you don’t have it treated in time, the crack can worsen and become a cavity. If still not treated at this stage, the bacteria will infect the tooth’s pulp, and that is when you might need a root canal.
If the tooth is still alive, you might be a better candidate for root canal therapy than a tooth extraction. When it’s too late for a root canal, that’s when your dentist will recommend an extraction. When the bacteria has already ruined the tooth’s structure, it will not survive a root canal.
Root canal therapy aftercare
After your root canal procedure, you will feel some soreness and tenderness in your mouth. Your dentist might recommend you some over-the-counter pain medication. Usually, dentists will suggest something like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but you can ask to be sure.
It’s crucial to maintain or improve your dental hygiene habits after your root canal therapy. Be keen on visiting your dentist for a check-up twice a year. Have your teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office at least once a year, as well.
Don’t overeat sticky, sugary food, and it may be best to stay away from refined carbohydrates. If you do have these, make sure to brush your teeth afterwards to prevent cavities. If you still experience pain after your root canal, call your dentist and see them as soon as you can.
So, is root canal therapy necessary? It may be frightening to get a procedure like this. If you check most of the boxes on the list of symptoms, don’t hesitate to shoot us a message.
Rest assured, though, that our North York dentists will give you the utmost care and attention. Save your tooth and contact us today for an estimate on a root canal treatment cost!