How Do You Know if You Need a Root Canal?

Years ago, just the words “root canal” were enough to strike fear in patients. However, today the procedure is nearly pain-free. Thanks to advances in technology and modern root canal techniques, the procedure can be completed in less than an hour, allowing you to return to normal activities the same day.  If your dentist has told you that you need a root canal, here’s an overview of what to expect.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is also known as endodontic treatment. Root canals are performed to prevent the extraction of teeth that are severely decayed, damaged, or infected. During a root canal, once the entire area surrounding the tooth is numbed, your endodontist will access the pulp (interior) of your tooth. The pulp of each tooth hosts nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels. Your endodontist will remove this pulp, and clean out any infection in the canals of the tooth.  The canals are then sealed with a safe, biocompatible material. After your root canal is completed, you’ll ultimately return to your general dentist to receive a crown, permanent filling, or have your current crown restored.

It is important to note that once you have fully-developed adult teeth, you technically no longer need the pulp of your tooth. Root canals allow for the removal of the infected pulp so you can keep your tooth.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

The only way to know for certain that you need a root canal is by seeing a dentist or endodontist who can diagnose the problem. If your general dentist thinks you require a root canal you will likely be referred to an experienced endodontist for the procedure. However, you may suspect you’re going to need a root canal if you experience the following common symptoms of a problem within the pulp of your tooth.

You Have Pain When Chewing

Pain in your tooth needs to be diagnosed immediately. Sometimes the pain is due to other issues, such as a cracked tooth, or gum disease. However, new onset of pain, especially to temperature or chewing, may be a sign of infection in the pulp of your tooth that will require a root canal.

Your Gums Are Dark, Swollen, or Tender

If you notice that your gums appear darker in color, swollen, or are suddenly very tender, see a dentist as soon as possible. Several conditions can cause irritated, bleeding, swollen gums. An infection in your tooth is one possibility. Your dentist will diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate treatment which may include a referral to an endodontist for root canal therapy.

You Have a Cracked Tooth

A cracked tooth, resulting from dental trauma, should be treated immediately. If not treated, an infection is likely to develop, requiring a root canal, or other treatment for cracked teeth. If you have a cracked tooth, schedule an appointment with your dentist or endodontist immediately.  Any infection or crack should be treated quickly to hopefully prevent tooth loss. 

Your Teeth are Sensitive to Hot or Cold Foods

If you suddenly develop a sensitivity to hot or cold foods, this may indicate infection, irritation, or inflammation of the pulp.  Be sure to tell your dentist if you have an onset of tooth sensitivity. 

Root Canal Specialists in Flint, MI

If your dentist refers you for a root canal in Flint, contact Lindemann Root Canal Specialists today. Our practice focuses on root canal treatment, treatment for dental trauma, and other endodontic services including apical surgeries and pulpotomy.  At our state-of-the-art facility, we use the latest root canal technology, to provide painless root canal therapy.  Conveniently located near Bancroft, Burton, Grand Blanc, Clayton Township, and others, Lindemann Root Canal Specialists in Flint is here to help when you need us. Call 810-732-7900 to schedule your consultation.