“Do I need a root canal?” is a question that you might ask yourself after experiencing pain in your mouth. Dentists use root canals as a way to treat patients suffering from serious decay. If you see a dentist regularly, you shouldn’t need a root canal. If, however, you keep putting off trips to the dentist, you may find that you need one or more root canals because of the poor condition of your teeth. While your dentist is the only one who can determine if you actually need a root canal, there are some signs you can look for in your own mouth that may indicate you need this type of advanced treatment.
Symptoms of Cavities
Dentists often recommend root canals for patients who have serious cavities in their mouths. A cavity may look like a soft brown blotch on the surface of your tooth, near the edge of your tooth or along the gum line. When your dentist spots that cavity in time, he or she can remove the damaged part of the tooth and fill the tooth with a composite material. A cavity may cause pain and sensitivity, and if you do not seek help, the cavity may become black in color and cause your tooth to collapse.
Performing a Root Canal
Prior to performing a root canal, the dentist will take x-rays of your teeth. This provides the dentist with an inside look at the pulp and nerves inside your tooth. If you do not have enough pulp and dentin left to support your tooth, the dentist may extract or remove the tooth instead of performing a root canal. Before you get a root canal, the dentist will number your entire mouth and gums. Once you are fully numb, the dentist can remove the inflamed pulp and any damaged parts of that tooth.
Getting a Crown
A root canal is just one step in the treatment of your tooth. As the dentist will remove a large portion of the interior of that tooth, the remaining tooth is not strong enough to support a traditional filling. The dentist may use a filling after performing a smaller root canal and recommend that you get a crown later. A crown is a permanent oral appliance that covers the filling and the inside of your tooth. A laboratory will make the crown based off the x-rays and impressions that the dentist submits of your tooth.
When to Get a Root Canal
Some common signs that you need a root canal include intense pain, inflammation of the gums, tooth sensitivity and an abscess. An abscess looks like a small or large bump that sits beside the tooth and on the gum. Dentists also recommend root canals for patients suffering from lingering pain after encountering hot or cold foods and those who have pain or inflammation that keeps them from chewing or speaking. At Southern Dental Care, we encourage you to make an appointment with one of our dentists to see if you need a root canal.
If you would to like to make an appointment to see our dentists for a potential root canal, please feel free to contact our offices at 504-347-1014 or you can fill out the informational form to the right of this page and someone from Southern Dental Care will be in touch with you shortly.