If you’re experiencing pain or sensitivity in your tooth, you may be wondering if a root canal is right for you. 

Root canal treatment is often necessary when teeth have become severely damaged or infected. However, not all patients require this type of procedure. In fact, some people can avoid needing root canal treatment if they catch the infection early enough.

In this blog post, we’ll go over the signs you should look for to determine if you need a root canal. If you are in Austin, our root canal dentists can help you diagnose and treat your problem! Call us in North Austin at: (512) 982-4006, in South Austin at: (512) 263-8332, or contact us online.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure to save an infected or severely damaged tooth. It’s often used to treat endodontic decay — a condition in which the pulp of the tooth becomes infected, causing intense pain among other symptoms.

During the procedure, your dentist will remove the damaged nerve and pulp from the center of your tooth, then seal it with a filling material. If necessary, they may place a crown afterward to protect your tooth.

What causes root canal infection?

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Root canal infection can be caused by several factors:

  • Unremoved bacteria. Insufficient dental care habits can lead to the spread of bacteria from the surface of your tooth to the pulp chamber inside your tooth. This is an ideal environment for the development of dental decay and infection. 
  • Trauma to your tooth. Chips, cracks, or fractures can expose your tooth’s surface and invite bacteria into its pulp, causing inflammation or even abscesses (pus pockets).
  • Untreated cavities. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that eat away the hard enamel surface, forming a hole or cavity in it. Bacteria reach through this opening into the softer underlying tissues and start to break down the tooth’s structure. This can cause inflammation and pain, along with more serious problems like infection and abscesses.

Do you need a root canal? Look out for these signs

Tooth Pain

The pain you feel may vary depending on the extent of damage to your tooth. This can range from a mild ache to an intense and constant throbbing sensation that intensifies when you chew or bite. 

The cause of tooth pain is not always clear-cut, but if left untreated it will only get worse over time. To prevent this from happening, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible so they can determine whether a root canal or other treatment is necessary.

Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks

You should also be aware that sudden sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks is a sign of infection. If you eat something very hot, like a bowl of soup, then abruptly feel pain or discomfort in your tooth, this could be a warning sign.

If the sensitivity lingers after you stopped eating, it could also be an indication that decay has progressed.

Swelling around the tooth

Swelling around the tooth is a common symptom of a root canal infection.

The swelling can cause pain and difficulty chewing. The severity of this symptom varies from patient to patient — some people experience mild swelling that doesn’t affect their daily activities, while others are unable to open their mouths without experiencing intense pain.

If left untreated, the swelling can cause more severe complications such as abscesses.

Tooth discoloration

Discoloration can be a sign of a root canal infection. The bacteria that cause tooth decay can also damage the roots of your teeth, causing them to turn gray or brownish.

Discoloration can also be caused by injuries. If you notice that one of your teeth looks different from the others, see your dentist right away. This may indicate a problem inside the tooth.

Root canal treatment can save a severely damaged or infected tooth

The best way to find out for sure is to visit your dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Unfortunately, many people live with these symptoms for way too long before they seek out treatment. Root canal treatment can save your tooth and prevent the need for an extraction. It’s also the best way to save your mouth from future pain, infection, and damage.

Your dentist will tell you whether root canal treatment is right for you

Root canal treatment can save your tooth, and it’s an excellent option for people who are experiencing severe tooth pain caused by deep dental damage. Contrary to popular belief, root canal treatment isn’t painful and it’s also very safe. You’ll be given local anaesthetic by your dentist so you won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure.

If your dentist determines that you’re a good candidate for root canal treatment, they can schedule an appointment to perform the procedure quickly after your consultation. If you have questions about whether root canal treatment is right for your situation, contact our office today!

We are here to help

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Our team of dentists in North and South Austin has extensive experience in helping patients find relief through root canal treatment — and they can help you too. Book a consultation with one of our skilled dentists. They will work with you to diagnose your problem and find the best treatment for you. Contact us in North or South Austin now.