Why Would You Need Root Canal Treatment?
Infections in the pulp of a tooth are commonly caused by untreated cavities. This allows bacteria to infect the pulp. Antibiotics will not work at this point because they cannot get to the infection inside the canal of the tooth. The inflammation caused by the infection reduces the blood supply to the tooth. The reduced blood supply also keeps the pulp from healing.
When the pulp is inflamed but not infected, it may heal on its own. Your dental practitioner may suggest waiting to see if it heals before attempting a root canal procedure. If the inflammation does not heal itself, you will want to have it treated before it turns into an infection.
An infection in the pulp can affect the bone around the tooth. This can cause an abscess to form. In order to save the tooth, the dentist needs to remove the infected pulp and fill the hole with a material called gutta percha.
Just because you have a root canal, does not mean you have to pull the tooth soon after. Some teeth last a lifetime after having the root canal procedure.
Signs and Symptoms
If you have an infection of the pulp, you may not feel any pain at first. But if it is not treated, the infection will cause pain and swelling. In some cases, an abscess will form.
Your tooth might need a root canal if:
- It hurts when you bite down on it, touch it or push on it
- It is sensitive to heat
- It is sensitive to cold for more than a couple of seconds
- There is swelling near the tooth
- It is discolored (whether it hurts or not)
- It is broken