How Do You Know If You Need A Root Canal?

If you develop a toothache, pain when chewing, or red, swollen, or tender gums, you should contact your dentist right away. Pain in the teeth or gums is considered a dental emergency and should be treated quickly. Although these and other symptoms may be a sign of an infection or severe decay in your tooth, they are also symptoms of other conditions. For an accurate diagnosis of a severely decayed or infected tooth requiring a root canal, you’ll need to be seen by a dentist.

What Conditions Require a Root Canal?

Symptoms that you need a root canal may mimic other conditions, including gum disease, or a cavity that may be restored with a dental filling. However, if your dentist tells you that a cavity is too large to fix with a filling, you’ll need a root canal. This is because the decay has reached the interior of the tooth (pulp). That decay will need to be removed.

You will also need a root canal if you develop an infection in the tooth. Infections in the pulp of the tooth often begin with a cavity or crack in the tooth that allows bacteria to get inside the tooth. The only way to rid the tooth of infection, and ultimately prevent tooth loss, is to have it treated with a root canal.

If you’ve suffered trauma to a tooth, from a fall, sports injury, or other dental trauma, you will also likely need a root canal. 

Root Canals Are Not Painful Procedures

Advances in technology have made root canals, also known as root canal therapy, painless and relatively quick. In fact, you may be surprised to find that a root canal takes about the same amount of time as a filling.  You also won’t feel pain because the tooth and the surrounding area will be completely numbed before the dentist begins. 

For patients who are fearful of seeing the dentist for diagnosis, let alone a root canal, sedation options are available. Sedation options that can help fearful, nervous, or anxious patients to relax during treatment include nitrous oxide (laughing gas), or an oral sedative medication that you will take before arriving for your appointment.

What is the Dentist Doing During a Root Canal?

Because the problem lies inside the tooth, your dentist will need to access the pulp. They will use a dental drill to create a small hole in your tooth. Then the pulp of the tooth, including all decay, will be removed. Your dentist will thoroughly clean the pulp of the tooth. They may also reshape some of the canals of the roots to prevent future infection. A small amount of topical antibiotic medication may also be applied to treat any remaining infection.

Next, your dentist will fill the pulp chamber with a special, biocompatible, putty-like substance that will seal the tooth. Your tooth will then be covered with a temporary crown.  You will return to the dentist to have your permanent dental crown bonded to the tooth. 

Book an Appointment for Tooth Pain in Temple, TX

If you’re experiencing any type of tooth or gum pain, it is important that you receive an accurate diagnosis quickly. Infections, gum disease, and cavities will not resolve on their own. In most cases, any discomfort you are feeling will only intensify as time goes on. Contact Fairbanks Dental Associates at 254-778-4402 to request priority care for tooth or gum pain. If you prefer, you may send us a message to request an appointment and our staff will contact you shortly to confirm your appointment.