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Telltale Symptoms You May Need a Root Canal

An infected, damaged, or decayed tooth can cause a wide range of symptoms that may affect the way you chew and move your mouth. A root canal provides relief while saving your tooth and preventing the need for tooth removal and artificial tooth replacement. This highly effective procedure is performed more than 15 million times each year with a success rate of 95% or more. 

A root canal gets its name from the fact that the procedure treats the damaged canals of a tooth’s root. This hollow section of your tooth leads from the tip of the root to the top of your tooth. Its contents are called pulp, which includes nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels.

The procedure involves removing any dead or damaged contents of the root canal, then sealing it to prevent new decay. Left untreated, damaged pulp can become infected with bacteria which can attack the root of your tooth and lead to other complications. When decay progresses too far, the damaged tooth may require extraction.

While you may have symptoms that indicate the need for a root canal, you’ll require a dental examination and X-ray to determine whether your affected tooth qualifies for this procedure. Our team of providers at Fresh Dental Care in Houston, Texas, are root canal specialists. We have the experience necessary to assess whether root canal therapy is the appropriate solution for your condition. Our professional team provides expert, caring treatment while working to give you the best outcomes from your dental procedure.

Find out more about the symptoms that typically indicate the need for a root canal. Whether you need a root canal or another dental procedure, you’ll have the best chance of saving your affected tooth if you get a diagnosis and treatment as early as you notice any of these warning signs.

Nonstop pain

Having continuous tooth pain may indicate the need for a root canal. Pain occurs when the nerves in your damaged tooth become inflamed as a result of infection or disease. 

While you may experience intense pain in the bone of the affected tooth, you may also have pain in other teeth, your face, or jaw. This type of pain may be continuous or occur periodically but it doesn’t disappear permanently without treatment. 

Gum or facial swelling

When a tooth becomes chipped or cracked from trauma or past dental procedures, bacteria can enter the pulp through the break. When this happens, the bacteria can cause an infection inside your tooth. This condition can result in tenderness or swelling of your gums, face, jaw, or surrounding lymph nodes. Jaw pain can often accompany the swelling.

A bump on your gum

Bacteria in your tooth can also cause the development of an abscess, a pocket of pus that appears as a small bump or pimple on your gum. If the pimple opens or ruptures, it releases pus. Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth can accompany a leaking abscess.

Tooth sensitivity or soreness

Tooth sensitivity to cold or heat can indicate the need for a root canal. You may experience tooth sensitivity as a result of inflamed and infected tooth nerves that become hypersensitive to cold or hot food or drinks. The sensation occurs as a dull ache that can lead to sharp, intense pain. The discomfort can linger after you’ve stopped eating or drinking. 

Soreness that occurs when you eat or put pressure on the affected area can also indicate the presence of infected tooth nerves that require a root canal for relief. 

Tooth discoloration

Tooth discoloration can result when the blood vessels in your tooth stop providing blood to the affected tooth and the pulp in your tooth dies. The discoloration can range from yellow to gray or black. 

Tooth pulp often dies from an infection caused by tooth decay. Untreated cavities destroy your tooth enamel and eventually introduce bacteria into your pulp. The bacteria can cause an inflammatory response that increases pressure inside the pulp and cuts off the blood supply. A root canal removes the dead pulp and prevents the infection from spreading to your gum and jawbone. 

Tooth pulp can also deteriorate after trauma or injury to the tooth damages the tooth’s internal blood vessels. This can cause the blood vessels to burst or stop supplying the tooth with blood. Once the blood flow stops, the nerves and tissue in the pulp die, resulting in discoloration. 

Don’t delay seeking professional treatment for your damaged or infected tooth. Early intervention can increase your chances of saving your natural tooth with a root canal. Request an appointment online or call Fresh Dental Care today.

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