When Should You Go for Root Canal Treatment?
The inner part of the tooth located between the tooth’s roots and the pulp is known as the root canal. A root canal consists of blood vessels that deliver nutrients to the teeth and nerves that sense pressure, cold or heat on the tooth. When bacteria get into the pulp, the root canals become infected. Root canal procedure is carried out by a dentist trained in endodontic treatment to remove the damaged root, nerve and pulp tissue. The area is disinfected using antibiotics, filled then sealed to prevent new decay from penetrating.
What Causes Root Canal Infections?
An infection of the root canals takes place due to:
- Teeth decay wears down the enamel and leads to cavities that allow bacteria to enter the pulp and infect it.
- When a tooth is damaged or cracked, it may open the way for bacteria to enter the pulp and cause an infection.
- When dental treatments are repeated severally on the same tooth, bacteria may set in and lead to an infection.
- A tooth may be displaced and make room for bacteria to reach and infect the root canals.
- Dental issues such as avulsed tooth and sterile necrosis also allow bacteria to penetrate the inner part of the tooth and infect it.
Symptoms of an Infected Root Canal
Only a dentist can determine whether you need a root canal or other dental treatments. Fort Valley dentist uses various diagnostic techniques to ascertain that your root canal is infected. They include digital x-rays, cavity tests, thermal and electric testing. However, there are symptoms that you can look out for when you suspect that your root canal is infected, and you may require endodontic treatment. These symptoms include:
- Dental pain
Although most patients experience pain when a root canal is infected, the absence of pain does not mean you have no infection. Dental pain caused by infected root canals varies. For example, you may have a pulsing, continuous or intermittent toothache, pain that does not effectively respond to pain-relieving medication and pain that changes in intensity when you change posture.
The pain may be triggered by pressure, cold or hot food and beverages, or pressure on the tooth. Sometimes it is too severe and persistent for you to sleep at night.
- Tooth sensitivity
If your teeth hurt when you eat or drink something cold or hot, it may be a symptom of an infected root canal. When the pain does not cease even after you stop eating or drinking the thing that caused the sensitivity, it indicates an infection in the blood vessels and nerves in the tooth.
- Swelling and gum tenderness
When you notice that the gums near the tooth that ache are swollen and tender when you touch, it can be a symptom of a problem that requires root canal treatment, the dead pulp tissues emit acidic waste products, which cause the area outside the infected to swell.
- Tooth discoloration
Once the pulp, nerves and roots are infected, there is an inadequate supply of blood to the inner part of the tooth causing tooth discoloration visible from the front of the tooth.
- Loose tooth
The tooth may become loose when you have a root canal infection. When the tooth nerve dies, it emits acidic waste products, which soften the jaw bone around the infected area leading to tooth mobility.
Why Root Canal Over Tooth Extraction?
A root canal treatment or a tooth extraction can relieve relief from severe pain due to an infected root canal. At Whitaker Family Dentistry, a root canal is always preferred over tooth extraction unless the tooth is beyond saving, even with endodontic treatments. Some patients argue that a tooth extraction is fast and cheaper than a root canal treatment, but this is not always the case.
Although a root canal procedure lasts longer than a tooth extraction procedure, the results are worth it. First, you will have saved your natural tooth, which is supposed to last a lifetime. Second, removing a tooth leaves a gap that will affect the appearance and function of the rest of the teeth. The remaining teeth move into the space left, thereby causing misalignment. Filling the gap to address these issues will cost more money and time. Once you consider all these issues, a root canal is the ultimate solution to the infected tooth pulp.