While problems with your tooth's root and pulp can only be diagnosed by a dentist, there are some symptoms to be aware of. Our Lethbridge dentists explain three signs that you might need a root canal in this post.
What is a root canal?
The root canal is made up of the inner passages of a tooth that connect the pulp to the roots.
A root canal procedure is a dental treatment in which infected tooth pulp material is removed from the interior of the tooth to prevent pain and preserve the tooth.
How can I tell if I need a root canal?
An infection of the tooth pulp is often characterized by pain in the tooth.
You may notice sharp pain while you are chewing or otherwise applying pressure to the tooth. You may also experience severe sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
If you are experiencing pain in your tooth, make an appointment with your Lethbridge dentists as soon as possible for a diagnosis.
A Bump on the Gums
You may notice a small, pimple-like bump forming on the gums near a tooth that might need a root canal. This is called a dental cyst.
Dental cysts form around the roots of decayed or infected teeth and sometimes form if the pulp of a tooth is infected.
Darkening of the Tooth
Internal damage can cause a tooth with infected pulp to turn dark, or even black. If you notice that one of your teeth has become darker than the others, it could be a sign of an inner pulp problem.
Does a Root Canal Hurt?
A root canal procedure may appear frightening, but with today's technology, it's usually no more difficult than getting a deep filling. Because your dentist will use local anesthesia to numb your tooth and gums so you're comfortable during the procedure, there will be little to no pain.
Your mouth may feel sore or tender after the root canal. Your dentist may suggest that you take over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
Generally, pre-treatment pain can be high, but the pain tends to drop moderately within a day of treatment and then drop substantially to minimal levels within a week.
How to Prevent a Root Canal
It's critical to maintain the same dental hygiene habits that help prevent cavities and other tooth problems to avoid the need for a root canal. Try to make a habit of following these steps to keep your teeth healthy:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss between your teeth at least once a day.
- Use fluoride toothpaste or a fluoride rinse.
- See your dentist for checkups every 6 months.
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist at least once a year.
- Sugary foods and refined carbohydrates should be consumed in moderation. These foods have a proclivity for clinging to your teeth. If you eat sugary foods, immediately rinse your mouth or brush your teeth.