How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

Root Canal Dentist Bloomfield Hills, MI

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal? 700 500 Dr. Kavanagh and Dr. Loprete | Cosmetic Dentistry | Family Dentistry

Root Canal Dentist Bloomfield Hills, MI

Tooth pain should always be taken seriously. A painful tooth could be telling you that there is an infection inside one of your teeth that may need root canal therapy. A couple of common signs that often results in needing a root canal are:

If you have any questions after reading this article, please feel free to contact us and we’ll get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.

  • A tooth darkening in color
  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Severe toothache
  • Gum tissue near the tooth is swollen and/or tender

Sometimes there are no symptoms to warn you of an infected tooth pulp. For this reason, it’s important to schedule a preventive care appointment with your dentist every six months. Please keep in mind that this blog post was written to help you better understand root canals and in no way should replace a visit to an experienced Bloomfield Hills dentist.

Root Canal 101

Inside your teeth, there are soft areas known as pulps, which are connected to each tooth’s nerve. When this soft area or your nerve becomes infected it can lead to a lot of problems like an abscessed tooth, oral pain, soreness in your face, tooth discoloration, and future problems like a hole in your tooth or cheek that allow pus to leak out.

The goal of a root canal treatment is to get the infection out. Often this involves removing a tooth’s pulp and nerve.

Don’t worry though, the nerves for your teeth don’t actually do much past helping your teeth grow into place. After that, their main job is letting you know when something is hot or cold.

Tooth Darkening in Color

If you notice one or multiple of your teeth darkening in color, it’s most likely do to an infection. When we say darkening, we also don’t mean the standard tooth stains that come with time and from drinking things like coffee and wine or not practicing healthy brushing techniques.

A tooth infection can spread, and cause serious oral health concerns if not treated.

A root canal treatment should cleanse your tooth of infection by removing anything contaminated and cleaning the area properly. After the cleaning process, the tooth will be sealed again.

Noticing Nerve Pain

If you’re noticing a lot of pain in your mouth, it could be that a tooth’s nerves are damaged and require a root canal.

When the nerves are damaged, your mouth becomes sensitive to everything, especially hot and cold things. It’s like when you have a wound, everything makes it hurt. This type of pain may feel similar to a cavity, but will often be more prolonged.

Tooth Abscesses, Swells, Swollen, and Tender Areas

Tooth abscesses are known as pus-pockets that form around your teeth. If you notice a pus-pocket you need to contact your dentist immediately. 

Tooth abscesses are extremely dangerous if not treated because they can spread the infection to other parts of your body. Tooth abscesses do not heal themselves and require a dental professional to treat properly.

Swells, swollen areas, and tender zones are all things to also keep your eye on. A swell could be an early abscess, while tender or swollen zones could be done to inflammation from nerve damage.

When it comes to a root canal, these pain and signs get worse the longer you delay seeing your dentist.

What Happens During Root Canal Therapy?

The goal of root canal therapy is to save abscessed teeth or decaying teeth so they won’t need to be extracted. This means that your dentist will need to remove the decaying tooth nerve, along with the infected tooth pulp. Without root canal therapy, the tooth will die and require a tooth extraction.

First, your dentist will need to locally anesthetize the tooth so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. You may feel a slight poke as your doctor injects the pain killer though. Next, your dentist will use a special drill or another dental tool(s) to create a small hole near the top of the tooth.

Once a sufficient opening has been made, your dentist will work to clear the dental pulp infection from your tooth. For good measure, your dentist may flush the inside of your tooth with water and anti-microbial solution to make sure any remaining pulp and bacteria are removed. Afterward, a temporary filling will be used to seal the small hole.

A few weeks later, you will return to the dentist’s office to have a dental crown fitted over your tooth so it looks and feels natural.

Is Your Tooth Infected?

If the signs of a root canal have brought you to our Bloomfield Hills MI dental office, we’ll be able to officially diagnose an infected tooth and let you know if you need a root canal or if another procedure will work. As a professional dentist, we will take x-rays and examine your teeth so we can properly diagnose the problem.

Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us at the first sign of dental discomfort. Be sure to describe your symptoms to the person answering your call so they can determine whether emergency care is appropriate for your situation. If you are interested in learning more about our root canal therapy treatments, please feel free to contact Timothy Steimel DDS online or by phone at (248) 335-4427.

This blog post has been updated.