If the thought of needing a root canal sends chills down your spine, relax! Not all dentists perform root canals, but for those that do, these procedures are just “another day at the office.” The fact is that root canals are common procedures that are no more or less uncomfortable than any other dental service. On the other hand, the symptoms that indicate you may need a root canal are usually very uncomfortable.
A root canal if often recommended when a dental patient has developed an infection that has spread to the pulp and nerves of a tooth. Because a tooth doesn’t require either the pulp or nerves to function normally, most people are able to use the affected tooth without any problems whatsoever after the procedure.
Although you may need a root canal without even realizing it, chances are if you need one, you’ll know it. Here are some symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal:
- A severe toothache. If you experience a very painful toothache – one that gets worse when you bite down or chew food – it may indicate that the nerves of your tooth are infected.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold foods. If you notice that you have suddenly developed a sensitivity to hot and/or cold foods and drinks, it may signal that you need a root canal.
- Swollen and/or tender gum tissue. If you notice that your gum tissue is tender or swollen near a certain tooth, or if you notice a sore on the gums, it may indicate that an infection is present.
- A discolored tooth. If you need a root canal, you may notice that the affected tooth becomes darker in color.
The root canal procedure involves your dentist removing the nerves and pulp of the tooth, then completely cleaning it and sealing it off. Your dentist may also recommend affixing a crown to the top of the tooth to provide an added measure of protection.
Although a root canal procedure itself is quite common and usually easily completed by a dental professional who is trained in this process, the symptoms that may indicate you need a root canal should not be ignored. Any type of infection – including one that impacts a tooth – needs to be resolved right away. So don’t be nervous about getting a root canal, and if you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to call your dentist right away.