It isn’t always easy to figure out whether or not your tooth is in serious trouble. This is because we tend to connect tooth pain with simple sensitivity or cavities instead of something more serious. Another reason for this is that some oral health problems don’t cause noticeable symptoms, such as swelling and pain, until much later. In the end, only a professional dentist can notice and examine things about our teeth that we’ve been overlooking all this time.
The best way to keep your teeth and gums from falling into terrible shape is to visit a dentist before things get worse. Cavities can expose the inner tooth to nasty bacteria and dirt, thus putting you at risk of a serious tooth infection. Once this infection becomes severe, the only way to keep any infected teeth intact is to undergo a root canal treatment. Read more to find out the signs that your teeth might need to be saved with root canal therapy.
What Is A Root Canal?
Your teeth are comprised of an outer enamel layer, followed by dentin and an inner core underneath. This inner core contains pulp—the soft area of a tooth made up of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The pulp of a tooth won’t have any problems so long as proper brushing and flossing habits are maintained. However, bacterial infections and damage to pulp can lead to serious oral health problems, like tooth abscess. This is where root canals step in.
When you undergo a root canal procedure, your dentist removes decay and bacteria from the inner core of your tooth. After that, he disinfects the inner chamber with antibiotics. Once all the gunk has been cleaned from the inner core of your tooth, your dentist will then seal the affected area.
In short, a root canal is meant to save teeth that have been badly affected by infections and decay. It ensures that you won’t have to extract any teeth too early or suffer from cardiovascular diseases caused by bacterial infections, such as diabetes and heart disease.
What Happens When You Don’t Get One?
You should really get a root canal if your dentist recommends it. When fractures or infections inside a tooth are left untreated, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, heart, and even your brain. This sudden invasion of oral bacteria can then lead to bacterial pneumonia, heart disease, and other systemic diseases. In the end, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
Signs You Might Need A Root Canal
It’s vital to see a dentist when things start to go wrong with your teeth and gums for seemingly no reason. The longer you hold off that crucial dental appointment, the more serious your oral woes will become. Here are some major signs to watch out for.
1. Constant Pain
Constant pain is usually a major sign of infection and other serious oral health problems. This pain can range from being a dull ache to a sharp throbbing sensation. Even though you may feel relief for a few minutes, this pain can come back and linger for hours at a time. If you just can’t walk, eat, or do daily activities without feeling tooth pain, it could be a sign that you might need a root canal.
2. Prolonged Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity shouldn’t last for weeks or months. If your teeth are still too sensitive to handle things like normal food and drinks or mild pressure, it could be a sign of a damaged tooth root. Prolonged tooth sensitivity due to damaged roots doesn’t just go away on its own, nor can it be easily remedied with brushing or fillings. A root canal is your best chance at speedy recovery and relief.
3. Swollen Gums
Swollen gums are never good. Most cases of gingivitis can be solved with dental intervention and proper oral hygiene. However, gum swelling that doesn’t go away even after treatment is usually a sign of inflamed or dead pulp tissues. Gum boils can also form and ooze pus due to problems with pulp. In any case, if your gums just aren’t getting any better even after proper cleaning and dental treatment, you might need to consider getting a root canal.
4. Dark Discoloration
Teeth normally become discolored when they’re exposed to food or drinks that stain enamel. In other cases, infections and nerve damage can cause a tooth to develop a dark, greyish-black color. You may want to get a root canal if one of your teeth starts to suddenly turn dark or if greyish-black spots begin to form on the surfaces of your teeth.
5. A Loose Tooth
Adult teeth shouldn’t ever become too loose for comfort. When the nerve inside a tooth dies, it can lead to the destruction of supporting bone. Without ample support and a strong connection to the jawbone, your tooth can move and get loose way too easily, leading to early tooth loss and problems with chewing, speaking, and other daily activities.
6. Chips and Cracks
It’s best not to ignore any chips and cracks that have formed on your teeth. Any injury on the surface of your teeth can become a gateway for bacteria to pass through, leading to serious infections and health complications. Even though most tooth injuries can be treated by your dentist in other ways, it’s still best to check whether or not any damage has occurred underneath.
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