Common Signs You Need A Root Canal

Common Signs You Need A Root Canal By Dr. Abhi Singh | November 14, 2021

Common Signs You Need A Root Canal

Root canal therapy is a dental procedure that involves removing the infected or dead pulp from the tooth root and then sealing it to prevent bacteria from spreading.

It is essential to be aware of signs and symptoms that may indicate a tooth infection. In this blog post, we will discuss signs that your tooth may need root canal therapy. If you notice any signs or symptoms of an infected tooth, it is best to contact the dental office as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment. 

A root canal treatment is a dental procedure used to treat the damaged pulp and root inside a tooth. Although the original term used for this treatment is endodontic therapy, it is often called a root canal because it is known to clean the canals inside the tooth.

Your teeth have an enamel surface on the outside, a layer of dentin on the inside, and a soft centre core that goes into the tooth root in your jawbone. The dental pulp, which is made up of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue, is found in the core.

When decay penetrates the softcore, the pulp can become inflamed, infected, or dead. To remove the decay, root canal therapy is often recommended by most dental professionals.

A root canal aims to save the natural tooth from infection instead of extracting it. The procedure involves drilling a hole into the tooth to make an entry, then the infected pulp is removed, and the space around the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

To protect the inside of the tooth (nerves, connective tissues, etc.), a dental restoration such as a dental crown is placed over the surface. This allows the teeth to bite and chew.

A root canal procedure can be performed by either a general dentist or an endodontist. It depends on the complexity of the treatment plan needed to repair the tooth.

A root canal procedure can repair a badly infected or broken tooth. The tooth may have gotten infected or injured due to tooth decay, frequent dental work, wear and tear, gum disease, broken fillings, or an injury to the tooth.

Chips or cracks in the tooth may expose sensitive structures like the dental pulp. This can attract bacteria to penetrate inside the tooth, which can result in a dental infection. While some cases may only require dental restorations, severely chipped teeth require a root canal to remove the inflamed pulp.

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries, is tooth damage caused by bacteria in your mouth, producing acids that destroy the tooth’s surface, or enamel. This can result in a cavity, which is a small hole in a tooth. If left untreated, dental decay can sip into the dental pulp, causing inflammation inside the tooth. This can cause severe pain, infection, and even tooth loss.

The following are the common signs that you may be experiencing that need root canal treatment:

At Prospect Road Dental Surgery, we aim to provide quality dental care to all patients through advanced technology. Our dental professionals have the experience of performing root canal therapy over the years. Through the proper procedure, we can help patients to achieve a beautiful smile and optimum oral health.

A general dentist and an endodontist are allowed to perform root canal treatment. An endodontist is a dentist who specialises in treating diseases and injuries to the teeth’s dental pulp. They also diagnose, treat, and prevent these conditions.

The complexity of the required procedure to treat your teeth will determine if a general dentist or an endodontist performs the treatment.

Before the root canal treatment, our dentist will take a dental x-ray to see the shape and structure of your tooth. Through an oral examination, the dentist will be able to determine the infection and the most suitable treatment plan.

First, we will administer local anaesthesia to prevent pain during the procedure. Then, our dentist will ensure that the area is numb before drilling a hole in the tooth. A rubber dam sheet is placed over it to keep the tooth clean, free of saliva, and prevent contamination.

The dentist or endodontist will drill a hole in the tooth to gain access inside. They will remove the pulp along with the old fractured fillings, tooth decay, and infected nerve tissue. If there is a presence of pus and debris in the area, they will also be removed.

Depending on the tooth, each contains one to four canals. The canals will all be cleaned, shaped, and disinfected. It is essential to shape the canals inside the tooth root into smooth, hollow tunnels free of imperfections that might harbour bacteria. This is a necessary step as it allows proper filling. It may take several weeks to months for this process to have a significant effect on persistent bacteria within the tooth, and this step may need to be repeated several times.

After the tooth has been thoroughly cleaned, it must be sealed. Some dentists recommend waiting a week before sealing a tooth. For example, if you have an infection, the dentist may put medication into the tooth to treat it. While others may choose to seal the tooth on the same day that it is cleaned. If root canal therapy is not completed on the same day, a temporary filling is placed in the tooth’s surface hole to keep bacteria out between appointments.

To fill the interior of the tooth, a sealant paste and a rubber compound called gutta-percha are placed into the root canal at the next visit. A filling is used to fill the outside access hole that was created at the start of treatment.

Teeth that undergo root canal therapy may have lost significant tooth structure due to previous decay or fractures and may require additional protection in the form of porcelain, gold alloy crowns, or other dental restoration materials. Restorations protect the tooth, prevent bacteria from forming again, and allow it to be restored to its function.

Root canal therapy prevents the infection from spreading and relieves the pain produced by infected tooth pulp. If the infection is not treated, bacteria can spread directly through the tooth roots to the tissues surrounding the area, most commonly the gums and jaw. This can lead to the formation of a painful abscess (pool of pus). 

If you do not treat an infected pulp, you may lose your tooth, resulting in further damage. Losing a tooth increases the likelihood of developing other issues, such as gum disease, tooth loss, impact on the adjacent teeth and gums, and further decay. Moreover, the damaged tooth may continue to decay and deteriorate over time. Such cases can harm your oral health and general health.

In some rare cases, the untreated diseased pulp can affect the whole body due to infection spreading. It increases the risk of severe health conditions such as heart disease and brain abscesses.

Crowns are necessary for the restoration of back teeth (or molars) because they are designed to keep the tooth from breaking apart when faced with the pressure of grinding. The front teeth are not subjected to the same amount of pressure as the molars. They can be restored with a dental filling and left without a crown after a root canal. For cosmetic reasons, if the front tooth has become discoloured due to decay, a crown should be placed.

Other factors influencing whether a tooth requires a dental crown following a root canal include the patient’s oral health, bruxism, and previous tooth damage.

The common reason for root canal therapy failure is the recurrence of the infection inside the tooth. It might be possible that the infection remains inside or finds a way to penetrate again following the treatment.

Other reasons may include the following but are not limited to:

A treated root canal tooth, just like your other teeth, is prone to a recurrence of tooth decay. Hence, it is essential to practise good oral hygiene to prevent complications after the treatment and maintain a healthy mouth and teeth. This is true since your mouth has bacteria, but the risk of decay can be minimised with proper oral care. Decay makes your teeth susceptible to bacteria sipping inside.

An infection in the pulp and root of your tooth can cause pain and discomfort. If you experience persistent tooth pain or other symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to get a diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.

Root canal treatment is done to save your tooth. It has become a very common dental treatment these days. The success rate of root canals is high, but it does not mean that this process is free from complications—there is no need to worry as there are many precautions and ways to prevent possible issues following the procedure.

However, it is vital to be aware of what you should expect after the treatment and the signs that something might be wrong with your mouth or teeth.

We hope our blog was informative. If you experience any of the mentioned signs, contact us at 08 9399 2037, and we’d love to hear from you.

Prospect Road Dental Surgery
Dr. Abhi Singh
Dr. Abhi is a member of the Australian Dental Association and loves living and working in our community. He has eight years of experience in all aspects of dentistry, with a special interest in dental implants, wisdom teeth extraction, and cosmetic dentistry.