Do I Need A Root Canal Filling?

If you have been experiencing problems with a tooth, you may wonder, "Do I need a root canal filling?" Root canal fillings, also known as endodontic therapy, are performed when the nerve or pulp of the tooth becomes infected and inflamed due to dental decay, a cracked or broken tooth or an injury to the tooth, according to the American Dental Association. During the procedure, a dentist uses a drill and small files or reamers to remove the pulp tissue inside the root canals and seals up the tooth to protect against further damage. Only your dentist or a dental specialist called an endodontist, can determine whether a root canal treatment will adequately treat your problem. Here are a few possible symptoms of the need for a root canal and some steps for dealing with them.

General Possible Symptoms

The most common symptom that may indicate the need for a root canal is tooth pain, according to the American Association of Endodontists. The intensity of the pain can range from mild to severe; it may lessen or intensify throughout the day, or it may get worse only when you bite down on the tooth. Some patients experience prolonged sensitivity to hot food or liquids. Your gums may also feel tender and swollen near the problem area.

First Steps

If you notice any of the above symptoms, contact your dentist right away. Explain your symptoms by phone to a staff member, who may arrange for you to come in right away or may recommend emergency care depending on the severity of your symptoms. To soothe the pain and alleviate swelling, apply an ice pack to the outside of your jaw.

Steps Your Dentist Will Take

When you come in for your appointment, your dentist will examine your tooth and take X-rays in order to diagnose the cause of your problem. After proper examination, your dentist will be able to tell you the best course of action to resolve your symptoms or ask you to visit an endodontist, a specialist who treats teeth with pulp damage. Depending on the cause of the problem, your dentist may recommend a root canal filling or a completely different and possibly less invasive dental procedure depending on what the diagnosis is.

Only your dentist can answer the question: "Do I need a root canal filling?" Call your dentist right away if you notice tooth pain, swelling or tenderness to get on the right track towards treatment.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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ROOT CANAL

Overview

Root canal is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it. The procedure involves removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp) and cleaning and disinfecting it, then filling and sealing it. The common causes affecting the pulp are a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, repeated dental treatment to the tooth or trauma to it. The term "root canal" comes from cleaning of the canals inside the tooth's root.

Decades ago, root canal treatments were painful. With dental advances and local anaesthetics, most people have little if any pain with a root canal today.

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