No patient wants to hear the dreaded words, “You need root canal therapy.” But the truth is, there is nothing to fear with this procedure. While root canals often stir panic because they are thought of as painful, they actually work really effectively to alleviate pain. In fact, root canals are not much different than a traditional filling and prevent the need for tooth extraction which can cause more dental issues down the road. At Mount Royal Dental, we work hard to dispel the myths surrounding root canals, so patients understand their importance. Here are some common signs that you may benefit from a root canal procedure.
Tooth pain is one of the top reasons we see patients in our office, and it is typically a sign that something is wrong with the root of the tooth. If routine activities such as drinking or chewing cause pain, you should schedule an appointment to come in for an evaluation as soon as possible. After an examination, we can determine if the cause of the pain is an infection of the blood vessels or nerves. In these cases, antibiotics along with root canal therapy can eliminate the infection and alleviate the pain.
There are many reasons a tooth may break including: biting down on hard foods, sports or other traumatic injuries, and failed dental restorations. If a tooth is cracked or broken, the nerve bundles may become exposed which can lead to an infection. Untreated tooth infections can spread to other areas via the bloodstream. Root canal therapy will prevent spreading of infection and future pain.
Many individuals have sensitive teeth, but if you notice an increase in sensitivity, to the point that you experience a toothache/pain when you consume hot drinks, this can be a sign that you may need root canal therapy.
Similarly, cold foods and drinks can cause pain to individuals with a tooth infection due to contact with the highly sensitive nerve bundles and blood vessels.
Darkening and discoloration of the tooth can occur due to poor oral hygiene but can also be a sign of infection and nerve damage deep inside the tooth. Once the tooth becomes discolored due to nerve damage, a root canal procedure followed by a dental crown is the only way to save the natural tooth and improve its appearance.
When tooth decay first begins to occur, it can often be reversed with an improvement in oral hygiene and in some cases, a small filling to repair a cavity. However, when decay is left untreated, it will continue to spread down to the root of the tooth, causing irreparable damage. For instances of deep tooth decay, root canal therapy becomes the preferred method to eliminate the decay. A dental crown will then be placed over the remaining tooth structure to strengthen it and prevent further decay or damage.
The most important thing to understand is that once the nerves and tooth root are damaged due to decay or infection, the problem will not go away. In fact, without treatment, the problem will continue to worsen, impacting the gum tissue and bone structure, and lead to extensive restorative dental work.
Root canal therapy is a safe way to restore oral health by eliminating infection and protecting the natural structure of the tooth. Living with damaged teeth is far more painful than having root canal therapy. Following the procedure, most patients are relieved to find out that it was virtually painless.
It is possible to prevent root canal procedures by following a few simple rules: