Root canals are necessary for a cracked tooth due to injury or genetics, a deep cavity, or problems with a previous filling. Patients generally need a root canal when they notice that their teeth are sensitive, especially to hot and cold sensations. According to Kenneth Rothschild, DDS, FAGD, PLLC, who has 40 years of experience as a general dentist, this discoloration is easier to see on a front (anterior) tooth. Inflammation of the gums near the aching tooth may be a sign of a problem that requires root canal treatment.
Swelling can come and go. You may be sensitive to touch it or it may not be painful to touch it. If you need a root canal and you have facial swelling or fever, your dentist may give you antibiotics beforehand to clear the infection. The cost of the endodontic procedure can vary depending on the dental professional treating the problem and the severity of the condition.
GentleWave procedure technology reduces the chance of bacteria remaining on the canal wall2, which is often a contributing factor to root canal treatment failure. The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots, where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root. A root canal procedure is like a small Roto-Rooter, which cleans cavities and preserves the infected tooth. The ability to reach and disinfect the microscopic “recesses” of the channel wall results in a higher level of cleanliness.
Root canal therapy or treatment is applied to eliminate bacteria from a root canal that is infected in order to save the natural tooth and prevent any re-infection of the tooth. Although you can smoke after a root canal, it's not recommended, as smoking increases the risk of needing another procedure. In some cases, the endodontist may discover additional very narrow or curved channels that could not be treated during the initial procedure. While all general dentists have been trained in root canal treatments, most of the time the procedure is performed by an endodontist.
A dental provider needs to be consulted prior to treatment to determine if you are a candidate for root canal therapy and the GentleWave procedure. You can eat normally before a root canal treatment, and most endodontists even allow patients to eat up to 1 hour before a procedure. Root canal treatment may also be less likely to work if the infection inside the tooth sets in. More than 15 million teeth are treated and saved each year with endodontic or endodontic treatment.
A root canal doesn't kill the tooth, and once a root canal is completed, the tooth will be able to function as it normally does. So how do you know if you need root canal treatment? Are there telltale signs? Keep reading to learn more about symptoms that may indicate that you need a root canal.