Many people think that root canals cause pain, but the fact is root canal therapy may be exactly what you need if you’re experiencing chronic tooth pain. If the dentists at Shore Dental have the chance to save your tooth and prevent the need for an extraction, they’ll always take that opportunity for your oral health.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canals are restorative treatments designed to repair badly damaged teeth, either due to infection or decay that’s developed over time. The treatment targets the infected pulp located in the center of the tooth where there are nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue crucial to the tooth’s root. Root canals work to remove infected tissue, disinfect the area to prevent future damage, then finally filling and sealing the area with a dental crown on top.
How Does Decay Start?
Decay develops when people fail to remove dental plaque, which develops over time if at-home oral care is insufficient. As decay becomes more extensive, it begins reaching beyond enamel and into the proceeding tooth layers, such as the dentin. Once past the thin dentin layer, it reaches the pulp and causes inflammation within the tooth, degrading the overall nerve structure and allowing an infection to develop.
Why is One Needed?
If damaged tooth pulp is left untreated, it typically leads to an abscess underneath the tip of the root itself. This abscess can cause a lot of pain and sensitivity, making it extremely difficult for you to chew, particularly very hot or cold foods. Forgoing root canal therapy can also put your overall smile at risk, as the alternative is extracting the tooth entirely, causing the need for more restorative treatments like dental implants later.
In the worst case scenario, complications caused by abscesses can occur. For example, the infection could spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain. While an infection in the body is serious regardless, the fact that the infection is so close to the brain and spinal cord makes treatment even more urgent. The worst thing you can do is skip root canal therapy when it’s needed.
Common Signs You May Need Root Canal Therapy
Chronic tooth pain
Tenderness to touch or while chewing
Discoloration of the tooth (i.e. a darker or grey tint)
Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
Swelling and tenderness in the lymph nodes
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, give the dentists at Shore Dental a call to schedule an appointment and determine whether root canal therapy is the next best step for you!