Root canals, also called root canal therapy, have had a bad reputation for a long time. Fortunately, modern dental practices, technology and equipment make them less time-consuming. These practices also decrease discomfort and anxiety. If you are unsure of whether or not you need a root canal, here are some of the top signs and symptoms.
Severe Tooth Pain When Chewing or Biting
Severe tooth pain when biting into food is a top sign of needing a root canal. You may also notice intense pain when chewing. The pain is typically localized to the tooth in need of a root canal, but if the infection has spread into your gum tissue or palate, it could make a few of your teeth hurt when you bite or chew.
Gum Tenderness and Pain
When the root of your tooth is infected, the swelling can irritate the soft tissues of your gums. Fluid and bacteria from the infection site irritate the nerves in your gums, leading to persistent pain. Your gums may hurt the most when you brush and floss your teeth. They may also bleed when you brush or floss. If the infection in your tooth spreads into the gum tissue, it puts more of your teeth at risk of needing root canal therapy. Any new gum pain or tenderness should be evaluated by your dentist.
Pimples or Sores on Your Gums
Pimples or sores on your gums are not normal. They could be a sign of an infection, especially if you also have pain, redness, swelling, tenderness or a fever. If you notice one or more pimples or sores on your gums, it is important to be seen by your dentist. The pimple could be an abscess. It could also be a collection of fluid or bacteria coming out of the tooth’s root. If the pimple bursts, it could cause you to develop a worsening infection not just in your mouth, but throughout your body.
Chipped or Cracked Tooth
A chip or crack in your tooth that was not there before needs an emergency evaluation by your dentist. If you have not seen a dentist in a long time, your last dentist retired or you are new to the area, you can search online in order to find a dentist near me. Be sure to explain that you have a chipped or cracked tooth. If you know how it happened, let the dental staff know. An injury to your mouth requires a prompt examination. If you cracked or chipped your tooth when biting into food, you should be seen as soon as possible. The dental office staff will tell you what to do for your tooth until you can be seen.
According to the American Association of Endodontists, darkening of the gums is another sign that you need a root canal. You may notice that the gums around a painful tooth are deep red in color. Your gums could also recede from the tooth, exposing more of its root. On the other hand, infected gums may swell. This can be painful, especially if they swell in a little gap between your teeth. If one area of your gums changes color, it is a good idea to contact your dentist for an evaluation.
Lingering Sensitivity to Hot or Cold
When the nerve of a tooth is irritated or infected, it will cause pain to linger for a while even after a hot or cold food or beverage has been removed from your mouth. You might take a swallow of ice water or bite into a hot hamburger to find that your tooth instantly hurts. Even after you swallow the drink or food, the pain will persist for a while in the affected tooth. Some people produce this reaction to sweet foods, too.
If you have any of these signs, contact a dentist for an urgent evaluation. A root canal today is more comfortable and easier than a root canal from 30 years ago. If you have anxiety about dental care, tell your dentist. There are treatment options that can help you relax so that you are able to get the root canal therapy you need for better oral health.