5 Signs You Might Need a Root Canal

Though root canals are not nearly as invasive and painful as they used to be, they are still a surgery and not without risks. Plus, the root canal has been the dental boogeyman for decades, which tends to make people skittish about asking their doctor if they need one.

However, a tooth requiring a root canal should not be left alone, no matter how scary it seems. Severe tooth decay can not only cause severe amounts of pain but can also cause periodontal diseases, increase risk of heart attack and even affect the patient’s chances of getting cancer.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure where the pulp of the tooth — the soft center, containing nerves and blood vessels — is removed and replaced with a filling agent. Root canals are performed when the pulp has become infected or otherwise damaged and is causing massive pain to the patient. A small incision is made, and the entire pulp is removed, filled out and then capped with a dental crown.

Luckily, a tooth that has stopped growing can survive just fine without the pulp, which is mainly used for the original growth of the tooth.

Signs you might need a root canal

Swollen or inflamed gums

Are the gums near the source of the pain swollen, red or showing raised bumps? If the gums are inflamed in a localized area, it may be a sign that the tooth above is infected and in need of a root canal. If all the gums are inflamed, that may be the sign of a different issue, like gingivitis.

Tooth pain

Obviously, the king symptom of a potential root canal is tooth pain. This tooth pain is not a one-time deal: This is chronic, ongoing tooth pain that is difficult to ignore.

If the tooth pain is specifically triggered by biting and eating, that is a good sign that the infected tooth may need a root canal. The pressure of bite force on infected pulp can sometimes even feel debilitating, though lesser pain should not be ignored.

Tooth sensitivity

Do hot or very cold drinks make the area extremely sensitive? Does the feeling persist even minutes or hours after imbibing the hot or cold drink? That may be a sign that the temperature is affecting the pulp right through microfractures in the tooth itself, through the gum or anywhere where tooth decay has compromised the strength of the tooth.

What to do if you think you need a root canal

If your tooth pain is fitting any of these descriptions, it may be wise to consider a root canal in your future. The best way to find out for sure is to consult your dentist, who can test for that issue and give you recommendations based on what they find.

Until your appointment, try using ice to sooth the area and rinsing with salt water to keep the area clean, especially after eating and drinking.

Request an appointment here: https://drkarbasi.com or call Lake Ridge Dental Care at (703) 651-1942 for an appointment in our Woodbridge office.

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