We've all heard the jokes comparing unpleasant experiences to root canals, but luckily endodontic techniques have improved over the years and root canals aren't nearly as uncomfortable as people would have you think. We perform root canals when a tooth is damaged and the dental pulp, or soft tissue at the center of a tooth, has become infected. The pulp is full of nerves and blood vessels, making infections quite painful.
During a root canal, we remove the pulp and clean the interior of the tooth thoroughly to remove all signs of infection. We then reseal the tooth, usually with a dental crown. Saving your natural tooth is always the best possible outcome when it comes to damage and infection, so we turn to root canals before extractions and tooth replacement.
If you need a root canal, you'll likely know it––your tooth won't let you forget! These are the 3 most common complaints we see from patients:
1. Significant Pain
When patients tell us that they fear the pain of getting a root canal, we tell them the thing they should really be fearing is the pain of not getting a root canal!
When the dental pulp in your tooth is infected, the pain can be unbearable. When you eat, every bite you take is excruciating because of the pressure on your infected tooth. Patients may experience prolonged tooth sensitivity, particularly to hot and cold sensations, even after the stimulus has been removed.
The gum tissue surrounding your infected tooth will often be tender and swollen. If your infected tooth is not treated promptly, the swelling can spread to your face and neck. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers can help sooth the pain and swelling temporarily, but the only long-term solution is to get a root canal or extract the infected tooth.
Gums, too, can be tender and swollen, particularly near the infected tooth. Left untreated, swelling can extend to your face and even your neck. While over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can dull the pain and swelling temporarily, the only permanent solution is to get a root canal or remove the tooth in question.
2. Small Bumps on the Gums
Another sign you need a root canal is having one or more small, pimple-like bumps on your gums. This is a symptom of a periodontal abscess, which means the infection in the root of your tooth is spreading. Don't try to pop or drain these bumps yourself. Again, your best bet is getting a root canal to resolve the underlying cause.
3. Darkening Teeth
When the pulp at the center of your tooth is in the process of dying or already dead, it can turn your tooth shades of gray or brown. If you have a tooth that has suddenly started to appear darker than the others around it, it's a sign you need a root canal. Occasionally, this type of discoloration may resolve after a root canal treatment, however if the darkness remains we can perform an additional procedure called internal bleaching, to help whiten the tooth.
Root Canals in Edmond, OK
Do you suspect that you may need a root canal? We'd be happy to meet with you in our office for an evaluation. Contact us at 405-285-5042 to schedule your appointment.