Root Canal And Endodontics
I'm having a Painful Tooth?!
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I Have a Painful Tooth!
Are you experiencing a pain deep in your tooth that never seems to go away? Is it excruciating to take a sip of a hot or cold beverage? If so, don’t hold off on making an appointment to see your dentist.
While tooth pain can be attributed to many sources, some types of pain are an indication that it’s more than just a cavity. One type of infection that occurs inside your tooth’s pulp can cause great discomfort and pain, and if the diseased pulp is not removed, there’s a likely chance you could lose the tooth.
Once a tooth is lost, it must be replaced in order to prevent bone loss. It’s a lot easier and less expensive to take preventive measures to save it rather than to replace it.
An infection of the tooth’s pulp can be treated with a procedure known as a root canal. And despite the way root canals are described in movies and on television, they’re really quite painless and recovery is easy.
What is a Root Canal?
Directly underneath the hard enamel of the outside surface of your tooth is a slightly less hard and porous layer called dentin. But beneath the dentin layer is soft tissue that contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. This is the pulp layer and its purpose is to help a tooth’s root grow while the tooth is developing. The fully developed tooth gets its nourishment elsewhere and no longer relies on the pulp for sustenance.
In other words, a person with developed teeth has no use for the pulp, but the pulp remains within the layers of the tooth and is susceptible to infection.
So, when decay is able to make its way to the soft core of your tooth, the pulp can become inflamed or infected. A root canal is then necessary to remove the infected pulp, clean the inside of the root canal, and then fill and seal it. A root canal is a way to save an infected tooth so that it will not have to be extracted.
A root canal is known as an endodontic procedure, as endodontics is the study and treatment of dental pulp.
How to Tell if I Need a Root Canal
If you notice that one or more teeth feel especially sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, that’s a common sign that you may require a root canal. But some other symptoms include:
- Tooth pain that never goes away – it may disappear for a while, but the pain always returns. You may feel it deep within an individual tooth or in your face, jaw, or other teeth. The pain may be especially severe while chewing and biting.
- Tooth discoloration – Although there may be other reasons why a tooth becomes discolored, infection in your tooth’s pulp could damage the tissue and roots and cause it to turn grayish-black.
- Swollen or tender gums – the dead pulp tissue will excrete acidic waste, making the area outside the root tip swell.
- Pimples on the gums – The pimples are abscesses which may leak pus from the infection. This leakage will likely cause a bad taste in your mouth and bad breath.
- Chipped or cracked tooth – a chipped or broken tooth can invite in bacteria, which can lead the area to become inflamed and infected. If you injure the tooth and don’t see any visible signs that it’s cracked, the injury could still damage the nerve and require that a root canal be performed
- Loose tooth – A loose tooth could be the result of many causes, but since nerve death can cause tooth mobility, it’s a good idea to confirm whether or not you need a root canal.
What Can I Expect During a Root Canal Procedure?
- Images from your dental x-ray are reviewed and then your tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic. Once you’re numb, the dentist places a protective sheet (called a dental dam) over the area. This isolates the tooth and helps to keep it clean and free from saliva.
- A small opening is made in the tooth’s crown and tiny instruments clean the pulp and root canals as well as shape the space so it can be filled and sealed.
- Next, the root canals are filled with a rubber-like material and sealed closed with an adhesive cement. Then the opening in the tooth is closed off with a temporary filling, which will be removed before your tooth is restored.
- Finally, your tooth will be restored with a crown. Occasionally, the dentist will place a post inside the tooth if it appears unable to support the crown.
How Uncomfortable is a Root Canal?Regardless of what you may have heard, a root canal shouldn’t be more painful than getting a filling since the local anesthetic will numb you. You’ll likely feel some soreness after the procedure, but pain medication should provide relief. It won’t take long for you to recover and get back to normal.
Benefits of a Root Canal
The primary benefit of a root canal is that it saves your tooth! You won’t need to have the tooth extracted and decide how you’ll replace it, and that will save you money as well.
And even though people like to joke about the pain that accompanies a root canal, it’s actually less painful than a tooth extraction. So, don’t let misinformation keep you from addressing the pain in your tooth. Make an appointment with Osseo Family Dental if your discomfort feels out of the ordinary. The sooner you make that call, the more likely we’ll be able to save your tooth and keep you from having to spend more on additional dental expenses.