If you have a tooth that is extremely sensitive to hot or cold foods, swelling on your gums near a tooth, or swelling that shows when you look in a mirror, there is a good chance you may need root canal therapy.
Every tooth has nerves inside of it that can feel cold and hot temperatures. For various reasons, whether a deep cavity or biting trauma, that nerve can get sick. If it goes past a certain “tipping point,” the nerve will be past the point of no return and will need to be cleaned out. There are three stages to the nerve getting sick and/or dying:
- Dying Nerve – This is when the nerve is still alive, but dying. At this point, the tooth is hyper-sensitive to temperatures, and you get the sharp, shooting, “electric” kind of pain that lingers for a long time or acts up “out of nowhere,” preventing you from resting or sleeping.
- Dead Nerve – This is when the nerve is finally dead. At this point, nothing hurts because there’s no more signal being sent out.
- Infection – By now, the nerve and blood vessels in the tooth have been dead for some time and the infection is pushing out of the roots of the tooth into the jaw bone. If it has gone far enough, it shows as a “pimple” on the gums or swelling on the check. The pain now may feel dull and more of an “ache” due to the pressure. Some people complain the tooth feels “taller” when they bite.
Why Would I Need a Root Canal?
If your tooth is experiencing one of these three conditions listed, you are either in a lot of pain or have an infection in your tooth and jaw. In order to save the tooth, the infection needs to be cleaned out. Without a root canal, the pain and infection will continue and cause more extensive problems in the future. Of course, if your preference is to have the tooth removed, there is always the option of an extraction.
So What Exactly Is a Root Canal?
Every tooth has one or more tunnels inside of it where the nerves live. Root canal therapy is when we go into the tooth to find those tunnels, clean them out by scraping the walls, rinse them out with medicines, and then plug them so no new germs can get into them. No more nerves, no more infection.
Don’t Root Canals Hurt?
Root canal therapy has a bad reputation, but the reality is quite the opposite. This procedure gets people out of pain. In fact, we’ve had people fall asleep during the root canal because it’s often the first relief they’ve had after losing sleep the last few nights. The exception is when a patient comes in with a nerve that’s hyperactive – in those cases, sometimes it’s difficult to numb the tooth, and sometimes the area around the tooth may ache for 24 to 36 hours after a root canal is first completed.
How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?
If you have a tooth that you’re wondering about, please call our Canon City office at 719-285-4784 to schedule an appointment. We can do an examination and find out what treatment you might need.
Dr. Lee, Dr. Soo, Rick, the dental assistants, and all the staff help are all great. My experiences with dentists have not been the best. However; with these doctors and ... Read more