In situations where a tooth has become severely decayed or badly damaged, sometimes the only way to save it is with root canal treatment. When a cavity is left untreated, the decay worsens and spreads to the inner pulp. At this point, it may be too late to fill the affected tooth.
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal therapy is a more in-depth treatment than a traditional tooth filling. First, an anesthetic is administered to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure. You will feel no tooth pain while the access hole is created inside the affected tooth. Once inside, your dentist will use special dental tools to remove all of the decayed and infected tissue from the pulp chamber. Space is then thoroughly cleaned, filled and covered with a custom fitted crown to protect the weakened tooth. Root canal treatment is a tooth-saving procedure that halts the spread of infection and prevents further decay.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
Only your dentist or endodontist can determine the best treatment options for your case. X-rays will be taken, and your mouth will be examined for dental issues. Some common symptoms of a deep tooth infection or a seriously damaged tooth include:
- Persistent Pain: A throbbing toothache is a telltale sign of advanced infection. Once the decay gets deep inside the tooth, the pulp commonly becomes infected. Since this is an enclosed area, there is no room for the inflamed pulp to expand. This creates a ton of pressure that leads to tooth pain.
- Swollen Gums: In cases of severe tooth decay, swelling is common in the gum that supports the affected tooth. Swollen gums are also a sign of a budding abscess and problems brewing under the surface.
- Intense Sensitivity: Many patients experience bothersome tooth sensitivity to heat or cold when an infection is present. This condition will be prolonged and grow more intense without intervention.