Only a dental professional can determine if you need a root canal, but there are 5 signs you need a root canal to look out for. If there’s one thing patients do not want to hear during their dentist appointment, it’s that they need a root canal. But while it may be the most dreaded procedure, only a small percentage of patients describe it as their most painful experience.
More than 15 million root canals are performed every year, and Dr. Daniel Cohen, a leading cosmetic and general dentist in South Florida provides many of them to his patients. With years of experience performing root canals, you can count on Dr. Cohen to provide you with the best treatment possible.
What Is A Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure that a patient needs to save a tooth that is suffering from an infection. Basically, Dr. Cohen will remove tooth decay and infected pulp from the tooth while cleaning the root and nerve and sealing the area to prevent new decay. This procedure preserves your natural tooth to prevent the need for extraction.
Signs You Need A Root Canal
Symptoms of a root canal can vary from patient to patient and depends on the type of bacteria in the infection.
One of the most significant signs you need a root canal is pain. This kind of pain is persistent and you will likely feel it deep in the bone. The pain can also present itself in your face, jaw, and other teeth. This is known as referred pain.
Of course, tooth pain can also be a sign of different problems, some of which are easier to treat like cavities, gum disease, broken filling, or a sinus infection.
In addition, you could experience pain when you eat or touch the tooth in any way, including when you brush. The decay in your tooth may be causing nerve damage, which will make your tooth more sensitive and more painful.
Speaking of sensitivity, it’s the next sign you need a root canal. Because the decay in your tooth is damaging the nerve as well as the blood vessels in your tooth, you may feel a dull ache or sharp pain whenever you eat and drink hot or cold items. Now, sensitive teeth are common and you can find relief by simply using special toothpaste. But the kind of sensitivity that comes with a root canal is different. If you feel persistent pain and sensitivity that does not feel normal to you, seek immediate care.
- Swollen Gums
Another one of the signs you need a root canal is swollen gums. Infection and tooth decay can result in the tissue surrounding the tooth becoming inflamed and painful to touch. The cause of this swelling is the acidic waste that the dead pulp produces. The swelling can come and go, but it’s a sign that should be taken seriously.
You might also notice what looks like a small pimple on your gums. That’s an abscess that may ooze pus and make your breath smell bad. If you notice an abscess on your gums in addition to pain and sensitivity, it’s time to see Dr. Cohen at South Florida Dental Center in Coral Springs.
- Damaged or Loose Tooth
A root canal infection can be a result of tooth damage that you neglect to seek treatment for. You may have had a car accident or some other impact that cracked or chipped a tooth. This damage exposes your tooth under the enamel, giving access to bacteria that causes tooth decay and infection. That’s why it’s important to seek treatment right away to fix the problem before it gets worse.
Furthermore, a root canal infection can loosen your tooth because the decay has softened the surrounding bone.
- Tooth Discoloration
If you notice your tooth turning a gray or black color, it’s a sign that the infection and decay have cut off the blood supply. Tooth discoloration by itself doesn’t automatically mean you need a root canal, but it’s concerning enough to warrant a visit to your dentist. If you are experiencing other signs such as pain, sensitivity, and swollen gums, you should prepare to hear that you need a root canal.
What To Expect During The Procedure?
Dr. Cohen will obtain images of your tooth and the underlying root and tissue. He will then administer a local anesthetic to numb the area so you won’t feel any pain. A dental dam will protect the area from saliva and bacteria to keep it clean while Dr. Cohen performs the procedure.
A tiny hole is made in the crown of your tooth that allows Dr. Cohen to use very small tools in order to clean out the dead pulp and infected tissue. After cleaning and preparing the space for filling, a special rubber material known as gutta-percha and adhesive cement fill and seal the canal.
If the root canal fails, you will likely require an apicoectomy, in which Dr. Cohen will remove the tip of the tooth root and any further decay or infected tissue before sealing it off so the bone can heal properly.
Many patients usually opt for a dental crown to protect their tooth during the healing process.
Preventing The Need For A Root Canal
Preventing the need for a root canal is as easy as simply brushing and flossing your teeth regularly and seeing your dentist for a checkup and cleaning at least once a year. Using toothpaste or mouthwash with fluoride can also help strengthen your tooth enamel.
Try to also reduce your consumption of sugary foods and drinks that can cause cavities, or at the very least clean your teeth after consuming them. Most importantly, do not wait to seek care if you notice any of the signs mentioned above. You may not necessarily need a root canal, but waiting too long to address the cause of your symptoms could mean you will need one later.
Contact South Florida Dental Center Today!
No one wants to be told that they need a root canal, but if you do need one, Dr. Daniel Cohen has the skill and experience you need to get the job done right. To make an appointment, call our Coral Springs office at 954-755-7971 today! We proudly serve South Florida and surrounding communities.