If you have been experiencing problems with a tooth, you might be wondering, "Do I need a root canal?" According to the American Dental Association, root canals, also known as endodontic therapy, are performed when the nerve or pulp of the tooth becomes infected and inflamed due to dental decay, a cracked or broken tooth, or an injury to the tooth. These things usually cause a tooth pain, which can leave you looking for ways to get much-needed relief. However, only your dentist can answer the question: "Do I need a root canal?" So, call your dentist right away if you notice tooth pain, swelling, or tenderness, and they will help you get on the right track towards treatment.
According to the American Association of Endodontists, the most common symptom that might indicate the need for a root canal is tooth pain. The intensity of the pain can range from mild to severe; it might lessen or intensify throughout the day, or it might get worse only when you bite down on the tooth. Some people experience prolonged sensitivity to hot food or liquids. Your gums might also feel tender and swollen near the problem area.
If you notice any of the symptoms above, contact your dentist right away. Your dentist’s office will be able to advise you on the best course of action to take, depending on the severity of your symptoms. To soothe the pain and alleviate swelling while you wait for treatment, try using an ice pack on the outside of your jaw.
Steps Your Dentist Will Take
When you come in for your appointment, your dentist will examine your tooth and take X-rays to diagnose the cause of your problem. After proper examination, your dentist will be able to tell you the best course of action to resolve your symptoms or ask you to visit an endodontist, a dental specialist who treats nerve damage to the teeth. Depending on the cause of the problem, your dentist might recommend a root canal. During the procedure, your dentist or endodontist uses a drill to remove both the nerve and pulp and seals up the tooth to protect against further damage.
Lots of things can cause tooth pain, but only your dentist or endodontist can determine whether a root canal will adequately treat your problem. If you think you might need a root canal, give your dentist a call and get yourself back on track to a pain-free smile.