Root canals are needed when a dental infection, or tooth decay, reaches the pulp chamber of the tooth. The infection destroys the nerves located within the root of the tooth, eventually causing the tooth to die. Years ago, the only option for this type of dental problem was a tooth extraction. Now, thanks to dental technology, we can save your tooth even if there's a major infection!
If you're in need of root canal therapy, you may be having trouble eating or sleeping. A toothache or sensitivity to hot or cold is common for those with infected pulp, and you may even have swelling or tenderness in the gums. Your discomfort is a sign you need to see a dentist -- and fast! While toothache remedies may relieve your pain, they won't fix your problem. Pain from infected root canals is often a signal that you need professional dental treatment to save the tooth.
Of course, if you do have any kind of tooth discomfort, it's important not to self-diagnose. Only a good dentist can properly diagnose the pain and provide the appropriate treatments.
When serious infection or damage is present, we may refer you to a root canal specialist (an endodontist).
If you have symptoms of an infection in your root canals, don't ignore them! The goal is to save your tooth rather than extract it, and with good reason. Missing teeth can cause bite problems, shifting teeth and jawbone loss. On the other hand, root canals are 95 percent effective, and a successful procedure can help you keep that tooth for a lifetime and prevent other dental problems.