If you’re experiencing dental pain, you may need a root canal to get relief and save your teeth. In the past, dental disease and decay resulted in tooth extraction. Today, root canal therapy plays an important role in saving teeth. Dental professionals perform more than 15 million root canals each year. It’s helpful to know the warning signs that you may need a root canal so you can seek professional diagnosis and treatment.
Here at Bahia Dental Group Dr. Marzieh Oghabian and Dr. Esfandiar Abadi are dedicated to helping patients keep their teeth as healthy as possible and making oral health a priority.
Taking care of your teeth involves regular dental visits to detect issues before they become major problems. Root canals are necessary when bacteria invade the teeth and cause infection that threatens your oral health.
What is a root canal?
A root canal procedure, also known as endodontic therapy, involves removing the infected nerve or pulp of a tooth, and then sealing the tooth to prevent further damage or future infections.
The nerve or pulp usually becomes infected in response to an injury to the tooth, tooth decay, or a cracked tooth.
During a root canal procedure, Dr. Vellequette or Dr. Fung uses a drill to remove the infected tissues. Don’t worry: The procedure isn’t as painful as it sounds. Modern root canals are comparable to cavity fillings, and Smile Center Silicon Valley offers various sedation options to ease any pain, discomfort, or anxiety.
Only your dentist can ultimately determine whether you need a root canal, but you should be aware of these five possible signs and symptoms.
1. Tooth pain
Any unexplained tooth pain is a good reason to visit your dentist. If you feel a dull ache, a sharp or shooting pain, or another form of pain that doesn’t go away, you may have a tooth infection
You may also have an injury to the tooth itself, which can potentially lead to infections and damaged nerves.
2. Sensitivity to temperature variation
Most people experience some sensitivity to changes in temperatures, especially when biting down on hot or cold foods. For example, biting into ice cream often makes teeth hurt, but this kind of sensitivity is normal and brief.
If you experience severe sensitivity to hot or cold, or sensitivity that lasts for hours after such exposure, you may have an infected tooth.
3. Pressure sensitivity
Similarly to temperature sensitivity, many people experience a response to changes in pressure, and it’s perfectly normal. Your teeth will likely hurt if you bite down on something hard. This is a normal pain response.
There’s usually a problem if you experience pain from light pressure, such as chewing foods that aren’t hard. Sensitivity to pressure is often an indicator that something is amiss.
4. Tooth discoloration
Deep infection in the tooth can cause it to change color. This is different from surface stains from things like wine or coffee. Actual discoloration of a tooth occurs from within, and you won’t be able to brush it away.
Changes in tooth color can mean that your tooth is dying, making it critical to get a root canal as soon as possible.
5. Unhealthy gums
Tender, red, bleeding or otherwise inflamed gums are a sure sign that something is amiss. This is especially true if the symptoms are persistent. Gingivitis is the most common cause of gum inflammation. Infections that spread to the nerve or pulp of your tooth can result in the need for a root canal.
If you experience tooth pain, or other dental issues, it’s a good idea to make a trip to the dentist. To learn more about root canals, check out our root canal FAQ. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Oghabian or Dr. Abadi, send us a message here on our website or give us a call at 925-267-8251.