Root canals are agonizing procedures that must be done once a tooth has decayed to a point where nerve tissue is impaired. Sometimes it is difficult to know if a root canal is necessary because the symptoms can be associated with other dental maladies. Keep the following list of signs in mind when determining if a root canal procedure is imminent.
If moderate to severe pain lingers after eating or drinking hot or cold foods or liquids. A toothache that lasts for several minutes and is very painful may indicate a need for a root canal. However, if mild pain is experienced and is not prolonged, a root canal is likely unnecessary. This may be symptomatic of the sore tooth requiring a filling or a crown. If the pain does not go away or becomes increasingly worse after 6 weeks, a root canal may be needed.
If chewing food or biting into food causes pain or a tooth is very sensitive to any touching, you may need a root canal. Swelling may also occur around the tooth that hurts. Another indicator is if you wake up at night feeling pain and you must take pain medicine to relieve the ache.
If you experience pain when eating sweets that does not last long, it is likely a cavity, a loose filling, or receded gums. A root canal would only be needed if decay is so deep that it touches the nerve tissue. Also, if there is swelling of the gums but no pain, it is probably an abscess infection. A dentist can get an x-ray of affected area to determine if this is the case.
If there is pain in one area or one tooth and it radiates to other areas, this is characteristic of a root canal. For example, if pain extends from one region to the lower or upper jaw, or head. Sometimes a lower molar may extend to the ear causing an earache. Or an upper molar extends to the head causing a headache.
Watch for bubbly areas on the gum that look like pimples. If you put pressure on this area and either blood or pus is ejected, this could mean you have a root canal.
For some, going to see the dentist is worse than pulling teeth; pun not intended. But if you suspect you have a root canal, therapy should be employed as soon as possible. If this infection is allowed to continue, the tooth will have to be completely extracted. Don't let it linger, nip this problem in the bud as soon as possible!