A common misconception of root canals is that they are incredibly painful and daunting. However, with today’s technology and anesthesia, a root canal procedure is usually pain free, fast and easy. If your tooth is showing signs of a pulp infection, the dentist may decide that a root canal is the best form of treatment.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a procedure completed using local anesthetic to numb the pain, to eliminate infection from your tooth, clean out any decay and save your tooth! During the procedure, your dentist will:
- Apply a local anesthetic to ensure you don’t feel any pain
- Remove and eliminate bacteria from the tooth nerve, root and pulp (the soft tissue inside your tooth).
- Reconstruct the tooth and fill with a dental crown or large filling.
Most root canals feel much like a routine filling and shouldn’t leave the patient with more than mild discomfort for a few days. Throughout the surgery, your dentist will ensure you remain comfortable and pain free.
How do you know you need a root canal?
The only sure-tale sign that you need a root canal is by a visit to your dentist, however there are some symptoms you should be aware of.
1. Persistent tooth pain
Tooth pain that persists, or routinely goes and comes back may be a sign that you need a root canal. This pain can be felt deep in your tooth or elsewhere in your jaw, other teeth or face. Regardless of the source of pain, it is important to regularly visit your dentist, as early diagnosis and treatment will benefit you.
2. Tooth sensitivity
Does the thought of biting into a cold ice-cream send shivers down your spine? Or sipping a steaming hot coffee? Tooth sensitivity oftens feels like shooting pains or a dull throb. These reactions may be a sign of damaged nerves in your tooth.
Trauma to the tooth and a breakdown of the blood vessels inside your tooth can lead to a discoloration of the tooth. If you notice a gray-blackish tinge appearing on your tooth, it could be a sign of infection within the internal tissue. Whilst discoloration can be the symptom of other issues, it is important to visit your doctor.
4. Swelling or sensitive gums
If your gums are painful to touch or show signs of swelling, this could indicate issues relating to a root canal. Swelling may be caused by the build of dead tissue, or a sign of other infections
5. Pain to the touch
Similar to sensitivity, if your tooth hurts to touch, there could be signs of serious decay or nerve damage. A root canal may be able to treat this. All tooth pain should not be ignored, your dentist should be able to find the cause of your symptoms with ease!
To prevent a root canal, it is important you maintain great dental hygiene routines such as regular brushing of your teeth, flossing, having regular dental checkups and regular professional cleans.
If you do require a root canal, you needn’t worry about pain, your dentist will ensure you remain as comfortable as possible before, during and after your procedure.