You take a breath of cool fall air, and a jolt of pain shoots through your mouth. You’ve never felt this kind of toothache before, but it doesn’t seem to go away, not even with over-the-counter pain relievers. You visit your dentist who tells you that you need a root canal in order to save the tooth. Now you’re nervous. You don’t even know what a root canal is. Luckily, we’ve put together this guide with everything you need to know about getting a root canal in Bedford.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal refers to the inside of a tooth where the pulp, or nerve, is located. It also describes a procedure where the nerve is removed and replaced with synthetic material. Although root canals have a reputation of being painful, the pain typically associated with them actually comes from before the procedure. Many patients report no pain at all during a root canal, and that it actually relieves them of their discomfort since the nerve itself is removed from the tooth. Your dentist will make sure you are nice and numb before the procedure begins.
What Are the Signs That You Need a Root Canal?
See your dentist if you experience the following symptoms:
- Persistent sensitivity to heat and cold
- Constant toothache
- Dark discoloration of the tooth
- A small bump on the gums below the tooth
- Jaw pain
Only your dentist can know for certain if you need a root canal, but these are the most common symptoms.
How Does Your Dentist Know If You Need a Root Canal?
A root canal is most often a result of poor dental hygiene. A cavity that has not been treated has spread to the center of the tooth and caused severe pain and infection. Your dentist will then recommend a root canal in order to treat and save the tooth.
In order to determine if a root canal is necessary, your dentist will take an X-ray of your mouth. Cavities are often visible on X-rays before they are to the naked eye. This allows your dentist to diagnose the problem and treat it as soon as possible.
What Are the Benefits of Getting a Root Canal?
The main reasons you’ll want to get a root canal if one is needed is that it can save the tooth from extraction down the road. If the infection within the tooth is not treated right away, it can spread to other teeth and cause them to need to be extracted as well. Missing teeth can come with a whole bunch of other issues, including difficulty speaking and eating, so you’ll want to save your teeth as much as possible. Most teeth that are treated with root canal therapy go on to last the rest of the patient’s life without needing to be extracted.
If any of the symptoms listed above sound familiar, be sure to contact your dentist right away to save your tooth.
About the Author
Dr. David Polk is just one of the amazing general dentists at Peaks View Dental in Bedford, VA. He is also an endodontist, meaning he has undergone extensive training and specialized in root canal therapy. He graduated from the University of Maryland dental school in 1996. If you think you may need a root canal, contact Dr. Polk at (540)-586-8106.