We put our teeth under a lot of stress. We expose them to quick temperature changes, hard foods, trauma, wear from grinding, acidic and sugary foods, dental filling materials and the dental drill. Sometimes, these stresses can cause damage to the tooth and the nerve of your tooth, leading to tooth pain, and swelling. When this occurs, call us right away so that we can evaluate your tooth.
How to Know If you Need a Root Canal
Patients often notice a problem when they wake up with pain coming from their tooth. This pain can develop suddenly and without warning. Some typical signs that your tooth may need a root canal include:
- Severe tooth pain, often waking you up at night
- Tooth pain to hot or cold that lingers after the cold has gone away
- Swelling in your gum or jaw
- A pimple or bump on your gum
- A foul taste
If you notice any of these symptoms, let your dentist know immediately. We can evaluate your tooth and discuss all treatment options with you.
What to Expect at Your Root Canal Appointment
Whether from a large cavity, a small fracture, trauma, or heavily worn down tooth structure, a root canal is done when the pulp of the tooth is damaged beyond repair. Root canals involve the removal of the pulp of the tooth (the nerves and blood vessels) and the removal of the bacteria that has entered the tooth.
At your Root Canal appointment, we will start by getting your tooth numb. With modern anesthetics, root canals are not the painful and traumatic procedure it once was. You should not feel any pain during the procedure. We will then place a barrier over your tooth to keep all bacteria out as we clean out your tooth. The inside of the tooth is cleaned and shaped with special dental instruments, then sealed to help prevent bacteria from reinfecting the tooth.
After Your Root Canal
Root canals take a few days to a few months to heal. You may have some pain and tenderness for the first few days after your root canal. We recommend taking it easy on your tooth while it heals and avoiding hard foods that may aggravate the area. We generally recommend taking NSAIDS such as Ibuprofen after your root canal to help reduce inflammation around your tooth. In some cases, you will also be prescribed antibiotics.
Once healing is complete, we generally recommend a crown on your tooth. Root canal treated teeth are at high risk of fracturing after the procedure is complete. A dental crown will help you protect your tooth from fracture and increase the longevity of your tooth.
While root canals have a high success rate, some root canal treated teeth will continue to hurt. This can be due to an extensive infection, the natural anatomy of your tooth, of fractures that are going too deep into the tooth. In these cases, your tooth may require further treatment to aid in healing, or may sometimes need to be removed.