A root canal is a procedure designed to clear out infections in decayed or damaged teeth in order to restore the tooth structure and prevent further deterioration or the need for extraction. Untreated tooth decay can cause a wide range of pressing health issues beyond the scope of oral care. Generally, oral infections can be linked to other serious threats to an individual’s general health, such as heart attacks and strokes. Root canals can be a very effective way to preserve decayed and damaged teeth by drawing out infections from the root of the tooth, sterilizing the soft tissue underneath, and sealing the affected tooth with a dental crown. While the procedure may seem intimidating, it is typically a routine, preventive measure that can allow you to avoid a tooth extraction in the future and reduce the risks that a tooth infection can pose on your overall health.
Commonly, patients wonder if their symptoms are serious enough to render the root canal procedure necessary. Is the discomfort they feel in their teeth the result of cavities, gingivitis, or something requiring more intensive treatment? Truthfully, the only person who can determine whether you should be treated with root canal therapy is a qualified dentist or endodontist. However, knowing which symptoms are commonly shared between candidates for root canal therapy may help you gauge whether or not you have a tooth infection that warrants such a procedure.
While moderate to severe pain in the tooth is typically a prime indicator of a spreading infection, some patients who need root canal therapy may not feel any pain at all. Likewise, patients feeling significant amounts of oral discomfort may not end up needing a root canal. This subjectivity is why consulting with a compassionate dental professional is of the utmost importance. Other symptoms of a potentially infected tooth may include:
- Darkening of the tooth
- An abscess in the vicinity of the affected tooth
- The feeling of constantly having a bad taste in your mouth
- Heightened sensitivity to hot and cold foods
- Swollen, tender gums
If you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is recommended that you obtain an oral evaluation as soon as possible. Even if a consultation determines that you do not need a root canal, simply inquiring about the procedure may have saved you the pain and inconvenience of having a tooth extracted or suffering further bone deterioration around an infected tooth.
To learn more about root canal therapy and to consult with a professional about your dental health concerns, contact our Eureka offices today.