Sitting in traffic, learning that your flight has been delayed for hours, going to the DMV, getting a root canal. What do these four things have in common? If you’re like most people, you probably dread them and wouldn’t wish such a fate on even your enemies. While the reputation for root canal treatments proceed them, these much maligned procedures can help you keep your smile healthy.
While often described as painful, root canal treatments can actually save you from months or years of pain, not to mention gum inflammation and the potential loss of a tooth. The trade-off? A couple of appointments to complete the treatment and some residual numbness and soreness. But when is it time to head to the dentist? The signs below can help you know when it’s time to get your teeth checked out.
Do you think you may need a root canal treatment? Edward Scammon, DMD and the rest of our team at Hometown Family Dental Centers can help you get the treatment you need. With seven dentists spread over three offices, we’re bound to be able to serve you with the best care imaginable. From simple cleanings to root canals and implants, we have you covered.
What is a root canal?
Below the enamel and dentin that you typically associate with a tooth is a tissue called pulp. Pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and plays a big part in helping your teeth develop. A fully-grown tooth can survive without pulp, as it can get nourishment from the tissue around it.
You’ll need a root canal when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. Inflamed pulp can lead to inflammation where the tooth connects to the gum. Infected pulp can lead to abscesses, puss-filled sacs that can spread and, in rare cases, be fatal if left untreated. During a treatment, the pulp is totally removed.
1. You’ve recently injured your tooth.
Cracked, damaged teeth are more likely to have inflamed or infected pulp. It’s easy to see why. An injured tooth, even if it hasn’t cracked, could still damage the pulp inside the tooth. Meanwhile a cracked tooth could open the door to bacteria getting into the pulp. If you’ve recently cracked or even just chipped a tooth, come see us. We’ll help repair the tooth and will also be able to determine if the pulp was damaged in any way.
2. The tooth has untreated cavities.
Cavities are normal, even for people who brush and floss the recommended amounts. Bacteria can become trapped in cavities and rotted teeth can open the door to pulp becoming infected or inflamed.
3. The tooth has endured too many procedures.
Conversely, a tooth can also be overworked. If your tooth has been exposed to multiple dental procedures, you’re at a higher risk for needing a root canal treatment. While teeth are resilient, they can also be worn down after years of surgeries or procedures that were improperly done.
4. You have prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold, even long after the sensation has been removed.
Does a popsicle or hot coffee have you clutching your jaw in pain? While sensitive teeth can be caused by a range of issues, infected or inflamed pulp could be the culprit. The same goes for chewing. If you can’t chew a sandwich or put any pressure on your teeth, it’s time to see us at Hometown Family Dental Centers.
5. Discoloration and swelling of the tooth or gums.
When anybody parts gets swollen and discolored, you know it can’t be good. In cases like these, the pulp is likely infected, and an abscess has formed. These symptoms could also be a sign of more dental issues, and you need to see a dentist as soon as possible.
You may be able to avoid a root canal treatment by seeking help as soon as you recognize any of the above signs. Hometown Family Dental Centers will make sure your root canal is treated with care and skill. Call or request an appointment at one of our Fayetteville-area offices today.