If you have been experiencing problems with a tooth, particularly pain, you may wonder, “Do I need a root canal?” Root canals are strongly recommended when the nerve or pulp of the tooth becomes infected and inflamed due to dental decay, a cracked or broken tooth, or other tooth injury. During a root canal both the nerve and pulp in a tooth are extracted and the tooth is sealed to protect against further damage.
Because at Western Clinic Dental we like to deal with dental problems, including root canals, as early as possible to save you discomfort and expense, in this article we’d like to share with you a few possible symptoms that can help tip you off that you might need a root canal treatment.
Why do teeth need root canals?
Your tooth is composed of different hard tissue layers that differ in amount of hardness and a soft, pulpal layer comprised of blood, lymphatic, and nerve supply. This soft layer is in canals inside the tooth that runs from the crown to the tips of the roots with a hole at the end of each tooth root that allows these tissue to enter and exit the tooth. We called this area of the tooth the pulpal tissue.
This pulp can become damaged if has sustained injury or becomes inflamed due to dental decay or large fillings. If enough damage is present the pulp continue to break down and become necrotic (dead). Infection will form which can extend out of the tooth root and form a pool of infection at the root tips. If left untreated, the infection will continue to spread and destroy surrounding bone and lead to eventual loss of the tooth. In cases such as this, root canals are the only effective treatment to save the tooth from eventual extraction or natural loss.
Signs you may need a root canal treatment
There are five major signs that you need to see your dentist about the possibility of a root canal:
Tooth sensitivity. As we age, we normally experience increased tooth sensitivity as our enamel grows weaker and exposes our teeth to the outer elements. Things like coffee, acidic food and drink, and not brushing with the proper toothbrush (hard bristles and too-hard brushing can do more damage than good!) can lead to weakened enamel.
Some sensitivity is normal, but a lot of sensitivity is not. Throughout your life, your teeth are more likely to be sensitive to cold foods and drinks. If your teeth start exhibiting sensitivity to warmth, you may have a reason for additional concern. This is particularly true if your sensitivity is based in one specific tooth or if it lingers.
Severe tooth pain. Just as with sensitivity, not all tooth pains are the same kind of threat. Small twinges while chewing might just mean a sensitive tooth. But constant pain in a specific tooth or your gum-line may be a sign of a more serious problem. Test a painful tooth out, checking to see if the gum and tooth reacts to being bitten down on, pressed against, or touched. Reaction to these pressures may a sign of the need for a root canal treatment.
Swollen gums. Swollen gums can also be ‘normal’ (though they are never healthy). Swelling can be caused by gingivitis, food particles trapped in the gum-line, and other causes. However, swollen gums can also be a symptom of something requiring more serious treatment, including root canal. If swollen gums are only at the base of one tooth, there is increased cause for concern. If onset of swelling is sudden, rather than gradual, it is likely that something serious is wrong.
Gum Pimples. Canker sores should not be confused with gum pimples. Gum pimples are like regular pimples - they are caused by bacteria build-up beneath the skin that causes an infection and swelling. With injured teeth, the bacteria are related to an infection in the tooth’s pulp. If gum pimples form in a specific area or keep returning, a problem may be present.
Discolouration. Discolouration can also be caused by a number of things including food and ageing. However, if a tooth suddenly becomes yellowed or discolored, concern is called for. infected or dying tooth pulp may cause discolouration and require a root canal.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your Western Clinic Dental dentist!
The Western Clinic Way of Dental Health
Western Clinic Dental is the right choice for dental care in the Torrensville area. We offer comprehensive general and restorative dental treatments, personalised dental services, and reasonably-priced dental treatments. These treatments are performed in our modern dental surgery using cutting-edge equipment and treatment methodologies!
Our offices are near the corner of South and Henley roads in Torrensville. Western Clinic Dental offers weekend hours, is adjacent to public transportation, and has same-day appointments in case of emergency.
Call 0412 071 074 or visit us at Level 1 / 152 to 154 Henley Beach Road in Torrensville.