How To Know If I Need A Root Canal Treatment?
Are you experiencing toothache or suffering from dental decay?
According to a new study, the prevalence of toothache is 5% to 88%; but not every case of toothache requires tooth extraction. Timely consultation with an experienced dentist can resolve the complaints without requiring tooth loss.
What Is Root Canal Treatment?
According to American Dental Association, endodontic therapy (also known as root canal) is advised when the pulp of your tooth (that comprises of blood vessels and nerves) is significantly inflamed or infected. Primary causes of pulp inflammation are:
- Tooth Decay or dental carries that allows bacterial penetration into the pulp to cause infection
- Chipped or broken tooth that facilitates bacterial entry into the pulp
- Severe tooth injury or avulsion
- History of repeated dental procedures on the same tooth
- Displacement of surrounding teeth due to subluxation, intrusion and extrusion
What Happens In Root Canal Treatment?
As part of the procedure, your dentist numbs the affected tooth and surrounding tissues via local anesthesia. Once anesthetized, he will remove the decayed pulp and nerves. If there is infection it is allowed to drain, medicaments are used to kill the bacteria . The tooth cavity is sealed and closed to allow healing and reduce the risk of further damage. Once the infection is gone, your dentist will hermetically seal the roots. The final step of root canal treatment fill in the access whole and prevent possible fracture of the tooth by reinforcing it with an inlay or a crown.
Signs That Indicate You May Need A Root Canal Treatment:
Root canal treatment is primarily employed to save a badly infected or decayed tooth. Following are some signs that indicates you may need a root canal treatment:
- Tooth Ache: Tooth pain or ache is the most prominent symptom of tooth decay that is very deep and the nerve is being affected. Usually tooth decay does not hurt if shallow. The intensity and frequency of tooth ache varies and may gradually worsen over time if no action is taken.
- Pulsating tooth pain
- Inability to fall asleep at night
- Changes in the pain intensity with changing posture
- Onset of pain after certain stimuli such as changing pressure or after exposure to hot or cold food
- Incomplete pain resolution with painkillers
- Difficulty in chewing:
The first sign of tooth decay is increased sensitivity to sweets or cold foods. In advanced cases, toothache intensifies becoming more sensitive to cold and hot and chewing food.
- Swelling of gum:
Gum swelling alone does not warrant the need for root canal treatment, but if present with toothache, it necessitates the need of prompt management. Swelling maybe limited to the affected tooth only or the gum around it In rare cases it may spread to involve the entire jaw or even face or neck region.
- Foul breath:
Some affected individuals may experience foul breath due to discharge of pus from the affected root.
- Feeling of illness:
Overall the affected person may feel uneasy, sick or ill due to fever, tender lymph nodes and pain.
How Does Your Dentist Ascertain If You Need Root Canal Treatment?
If you are experiencing above signs and symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist to see if you are a candidate for root canal treatment.
He needs one or more of the following to make a decision regarding your root canal treatment:
- X-rays: Presence of a radiolucent (dark) spot at the root of affected tooth indicates the bone involvement and presence of infection or inflammation
- Identification of boils in the gum:i Boils or swelling in the gum suggests the presence of a fistula or pus pockets that allows for drainage of pus to the exterior. If the fistula is clogged, the patient may develop a tense/ tender swelling on the gum
- Identification of tooth discoloration: Tooth discoloration indicates nerve damage or tooth injury. In some cases, prominent tooth discoloration may take years to develop
Your dentist may perform a variety of other tests that may range from tapping test to electric and thermal testing.
Dr Albert Toubia is a renowned dental surgeon with years of experience in endodontic procedures like root canal treatment. Schedule an appointment today to receive expert opinion and professional care.