5 Ways You’ll Know You Need a Root Canal
Posted: November 19, 2021
Last Modified: May 19, 2022
We’ve talked about root canals on our blog before. If you missed that discussion, the takeaway was that root canals aren’t nearly as bad as they’re portrayed in the media. The procedure can help relieve painful symptoms of an infected pulp, and it can also preserve the tooth’s structure. Even if you’re completely fine with the idea of a root canal, you might still hesitate to call your dentist. After all, how would you even know if you needed one?
Well, that’s precisely the question we’re here to answer today. There are five good indicators that a root canal might be in your future, and we’re going to explain each one.
1. You have constant pain in your tooth or jaw
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something’s wrong, and one of the earliest signs of deep tooth decay is persistent, constant pain in your tooth. It’ll likely flare up when you’re eating or drinking, or if your tongue brushes past while you’re speaking. It might fade away and return, or it might always be there; regardless of what form your dental pain takes, it’s an indication that something needs to be fixed, and that’s when you should pick up the phone and call your local dentist.
2. Your tooth is dark or discoloured
Pulp is the stuff at the very core of your tooth, and if it’s infected or not getting the blood it needs, it’ll change colour. This can lead to a change in how your tooth appears outwardly and is usually a good indication that something’s wrong with the root. So, if you’re brushing your teeth and you notice that one of them looks greyish or even black, there’s no time to waste in calling your local dentist’s office.
3. Your gums are swollen, painful, or look like they have a pimple on them
When the pulp tissue of your tooth becomes sick or diseased, it produces a whole bunch of foul byproducts, which in turn irritate the gum tissue near the sick tooth. Your poor gums may look red and swollen and may be sensitive to touch. If the infection is well underway, you may develop a small pimple or abscess on the outside of your gums. As it fills up, it may ooze awful-smelling pus from the infection in your tooth, which, in addition to just being generally unpleasant, can give you bad breath and leave a literal bad taste in your mouth.
4. Your tooth is sensitive to heat or cold and may be tender to the touch.
The pulp in your tooth contains the nerves and blood vessels that keep the tooth alive and let you know if there’s been damage to the tooth. When that pulp is infected, it damages the nerves, which can manifest as sensitivity to foods of different temperatures or even sensitivity to touch. This frequently goes hand-in-hand with severe decay, which means a root canal may be necessary to save what remains.
5. Your teeth feel perfectly fine
It’s true – your teeth might feel perfectly fine, and just below the surface, an infection may be raging. You won’t always have prior warning that your tooth is infected, and by the time you’ve finally clued in, you might also have an abscess to worry about. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to have regular dental check-ups. During your regular cleaning, your dentist can look around or take x-rays to see how your teeth are doing. They know how to recognize the early signs of dental decay, and if they can catch it early enough, you may not need a root canal at all.
Endodontic Dentistry in Barrie, Ontario
In the world of dentistry, root canals are also known as endodontic dental treatment. A tooth that has incurred irreversible damage to its nerve can be either extracted or saved via a root canal, and when possible, we’ll always opt for saving your natural tooth.
At Dr. Elston Wong Dentistry, we’re here to recommend the treatment that makes the most sense for your long-term oral health, and we’ll never recommend treatment without first considering the impact on the rest of your mouth and overall well-being. Having access to a broad range of treatment options can be confusing, so we help you to determine the best treatment options that are predictable and evidence-based.
If you’d like to learn more about making an appointment at Dr. Elston Wong Dentistry in Barrie, Ontario, give us a call at (705) 721-1143. You can also get in contact with us online.