How Do You Know If You Need A Root Canal?

How Do You Know If You Need A Root Canal?

Root canals save millions of natural teeth each year. Although myths about root canals being painful procedures may persist, with advances in technology root canals today are fast, painless, and immediately effective in eliminating pain. There are certain cases where a root canal may be indicated in order to keep the natural tooth and avoid an extraction. Here’s what to look out for, and why you shouldn’t delay treatment for a toothache.

Symptoms of Injury or Infection Inside Your Tooth

A root canal is indicated when a tooth has extensive decay, a fracture involving the pulp or an infection.

Symptoms of decay, fracture or an infection involving the pulp of a tooth include:

  • Tooth pain initiated by exposure to hot or cold food or drinks
  • Tooth pain while chewing
  • Pain which lingers for a few minutes post exposure to the stimulus
  • Throbbing or “heartbeat” sensation in a tooth
  • Sharp shooting pain
  • Visible swelling either intraoral or extraoral
  • Darkening of the tooth relative to the neighboring tooth 
  • Pain radiating to the head, ears, neck

What happens during a root canal?

A root canal is a fairly routine procedure. With the use of advances in technology and new techniques, it is usually a quick and relatively painless procedure. 

Before initiating root canal treatment, your dentist will diagnose the tooth by performing multiple tests. Some of the tools for diagnoses may include radiographs, cold test (application of ice on the tooth), bite sleuth, pulp vitality tests. All these tests allow the dentist to assess the condition of the pulp and the surrounding tissues and treatment protocol.

Before initiation of the root canal treatment, local anesthetics are used to ensure that you do not experience pain during the treatment. For especially nervous, fearful, or anxious patients, mild sedation options may also be an option, though this is not required, or necessary for most people.  

During a root canal, the area surrounding the tooth being treated will be completely numbed for your comfort. The caries (decay) is removed leaving only healthy tooth structure. Then, a small access hole is made to remove the nerve pulp while it is asleep from the local anesthesia.. Once the nerve is removed the pain will be eliminated. All canals inside the tooth will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected . Some of the canals may be gently reshaped. The canals and chamber will be filled before the tooth is sealed. At a subsequent vist a post or post-core will then be made to provide an peg like structure that will support and accept a  crown.  Once treated you can go on with your normal activities,Usually

No pain medicine is needed ; however an antibiotic is often prescribed to prevent infection and

Aide in healing. 

Can a tooth that needs a root canal heal without treatment?

A tooth that needs a root canal will not heal on its own. When injury, decay, or infection becomes severe enough to cause pain and other symptoms, your options are tooth extraction or a root canal. This is because the infection or decay is deep within the tooth, and cannot be treated without opening the tooth, or pulling the tooth.  

Is a root canal better than having the tooth pulled?

It is always better to preserve natural teeth, wherever possible. Natural teeth have tooth roots that play a crucial role in maintaining the width and volume  of your jaw bone. When teeth are pulled, the jaw bone begins to recede. Eventually, this can cause premature aging and a sunken appearance. In addition, adjacent teeth may begin shifting into the gap left when you pull a tooth. If you have a tooth pulled rather than treated with root canal therapy, you should plan for more restorative dental treatments such as a dental implant, so that you do not lose jaw bone.

By contrast, a root canal leaves the tooth root intact and doesn’t leave a gap in your smile. Your dental crown is custom made to match your other teeth, and function as a normal tooth. All doctors of dentistry advocate for the preservation of natural teeth wherever possible. 

Root Canal Therapy in Scarsdale

At Scarsdale Dental Group we provide comprehensive diagnostics including  Our state of the Art  OP 300 Cone Beam CT Scanner. Besides single digital radiographs , nerve vitality tests and a completed intra oral exam teh 3D scan provides an infinite number of slices and views to

Confirm the tooth and proper diagnosis. Once it has been established that your tooth is in need of a root canal therapy we will determine if you may be treated in our office or if it is a special case we refer you to our colleagues who specialize in treating more difficult cases.   As a full-service dental practice, Scarsdale Dental Group provides preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry, including Invisalign and dental implants. Contact us today at 914-723-4707 , or request an appointment online.