Root canals can be a scary procedure for patients. There has been a lot of stigma placed around the treatment over the last several years and may even have you second guessing the procedure even if it’s what you need. While teeth may seem invincible and immune to damage this just simply isn’t true. Our teeth are amazingly strong and are excellent at creating beautiful smiles and breaking down food, but as with everything else in our bodies they break down and become worn out over time.
Teeth have many layers that become thinner and weaker over time. Without proper dental care, the tooth can sustain so much damage that it exposes the inner layer of the tooth, also known as the “pulp”. If this portion of the tooth is exposed for too long the risk for it becoming infected becomes higher. An infected dental pulp can cause intense pain. The infection can also spread throughout the body and cause other serious health issues. A root canal treatment assists in removing the infection from the tooth while also relieving the pain.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
Without the assistance of a dentist experienced with root canals, you may be unsure about knowing if and when you need root canal treatment. The following symptoms can indicate an infection in need of root canal treatment:
- Severe pain while eating and speaking
- Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold
- Unusual sensitivity to surgery foods and drinks
- Swelling and inflammation in gums
- Pimple-like bumps on gums
- Dark teeth or gums
None of these symptoms should be ignored. Our team at Bismarck Advanced Dental and Implants recommends seeing one of our specialty dentists as soon as you notice any of these signs so we can get you the treatment you need.
Root canal treatment can have many benefits to the patient including: their healthy smile back, no more pain, restoration of bite strength, and a lower risk of further dental work. The treatment also prevents further wear and tear of the other teeth.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
During a root canal procedure, a local anesthetic is used so patients usually feel little to no pain at all. The following days can bring minor pain and discomfort but can be managed with over-the-counter medications. To prevent severe pain, it’s important for patients to follow the after care instructions given to them after their procedure. These instructions usually include avoiding hard food as well as food and drinks high in sugar. Practicing good overall oral hygiene will also help. Contact your dentist if the root canal pain persists longer than a few days.
What Can Happen If You Don’t Get a Root Canal When It’s Needed
If you’re still not convinced about having root canal treatment you may be curious about what happens if you don’t receive treatment at all. Like any other infection that happens within the body, an infected tooth will not go away on it’s own and will likely continue getting worse until you receive treatment. In most cases, the only other option to a root canal is extraction. Root canals allow you to keep the tooth and maintain your full smile, whereas an extraction will add more dental work by leaving a hole from the missing tooth. If the extracted tooth is near the front of the mouth most patients will want a replacement, which involves a dental implant and can be expensive.
Root canal treatment also eliminates the risk of the infection spreading to other parts of the body such as the brain, blood, jaw, and other areas. Infections can be dangerous within the body, even tooth infections, and result in a variety of other health issues.