Over 15 million people get root canal treatment each year. The words “root canal” often generate fear, even for those who’ve never had one. This mainly stems from early dentistry days where procedures were less precise.
The idea of drilling deep into a tooth to save it sounds bizarre to some. The truth is, root canal therapy is highly successful and important to prevent further problems. The only alternative is yanking out the tooth entirely, which carries its own set of consequences.
A root canal is far less worrisome than ignoring the problem altogether. How do you know you need a root canal? There are a few signs that you need a root canal, and you don’t need to be a dentist.
Before we get into that, let’s understand more about why they’re needed.
Dental Pulp and Infections
When a cavity runs out of enamel and starts hitting the pulp chamber, only a root canal will save the tooth. The area in the middle of the tooth is filled with pulp. The pulp is made up of a bunch of nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissues.
When bacteria enter that chamber and starts infecting the pulp, bad times are in order. A root canal can remove this infection and allow the remaining nerves and blood vessels to keep the tooth alive. The procedure will result in a loss in sensation for that tooth, but it will still chew like the rest.
Because the procedure removes a lot of enamel, the tooth is weaker, so it is more likely to break if forced. Learn more about root canal procedures and how dentists are able to repair the tooth. Next, we’ll discuss the major signs of a pulp infection.
Signs That You need a Root Canal
Root canals are associated with intense pain. Pain is often subjective and people experience it differently. Does it accompany these other symptoms?
1. Consistent Pain
A toothache could mean a cavity, teeth shifting, or something worse. The only way to tell is to keep track of the frequency and location of the pain. Are you only experiencing pain when drinking or eating?
Your dentist has to look at the location of the pain and see if anything is infected. They will usually prescribe antibiotics when they feel a root canal is in order.
2. Damaged Teeth
Teeth that have been fractured or broken previously are especially prone to infections to the pulp. Bacteria get a speed pass to the deepest enamel and even the most diligent brushers can run into problems.
A dentist may even suggest a root canal as a preventative measure if there’s already cavity issues along with the fractured enamel.
3. Heightened Sensitivity
A cavity often causes some sort of dull pain, but not always sensitivity, unlike an infection at the root. When nerves are being affected, their sensors go haywire. Hot or cold food and drinks trigger sharp pains in the infected region.
Chewing and putting pressure on your tooth can also trigger pain. If this sensitivity persists for weeks, you’ve got a damaged root. You have to act fast or this rot can spread into surrounding teeth.
Temperature sensitivity on its own doesn’t mean you need a root canal. Further examination by the dentist is needed to determine if a root canal is needed.
4. Swollen Gums
Swollen gums are a sign of problems beneath the surface. If your gums are painful and swollen or have a raised bump on them, your dentist will examine the swollen gums to see if inflammation is to blame.
In some cases, a root canal is needed to solve the problem of inflamed gums if they don’t improve.
Daily hygiene is an important part of living healthy lives. For some, it’s also a big part of their self-confidence, too. Poor dental hygiene results in bad breath and yellowing of the teeth.
There is also further discoloration that is caused from the inside, rather than staining on the outside. When the nerves and blood vessels start to die, they leave a distinctive color on the tooth. A root canal is required before potentially serious complications occur.
Consequences of Tooth Decay
As you can see, there are a number of symptoms that point towards deep tooth decay. Ignoring a toothache or cavity doesn’t sound like a big deal to most. You might think that seeing the dentist is too expensive.
What is more expensive is not removing the decay and infection before it’s too late. You don’t know how far along the tooth rot is until the pain is too much to ignore. You won’t stop deep tooth decay with brushing and rinsing every day.
Only a root canal can reach the infection and remove it before it runs out of tissue to kill. The pain caused by a root canal is nothing in comparison to a tooth that is infected. In fact, during the root canal, you won’t feel anything remarkable.
Anesthesia and modern dental equipment have reduced the impact of the procedure. It will resemble that of a quick filling in many cases.
Change the Way You Look at Teeth
If you experience any of these signs that you need a root canal, don’t go into denial. Running away from problems, especially your health, will only create more of them. A root canal isn’t the end of the world.
Take this as a wake-up call for your dental hygiene and lifestyle. You are likely experiencing other deficiencies in your life. You have to face them head-on, which starts with listening to professional advice.
Once you’ve taken care of your teeth, start examining other areas of your life. How did you end up needing that root canal? Answer these questions and more by reading helpful life advice at My Zeo.
Read his lifestyle blog for tips on removing mental cavities like a root canal. Get expert advice, learn from successful people, and find happiness.