When you have a severe cavity with pain, a simple filling may not be enough. Instead, you may need services from a qualified endodontist who can provide root canal therapy for cavities.
In some cases, a dentist may deal with your tooth problem by simply giving you a filling. In others, you will undergo a root canal. How do they decide which one is the best option? When is root canal therapy for cavities necessary? Knowing when a root canal is necessary can ensure that you reach out for help when you need it. For a referral for root canal therapy, speak to your dentist today.
When Do I Need a Root Canal Instead of a Filling?
Sometimes, a root canal is the only way to save a damaged or infected tooth. The truth is that some cavities are simply too far gone for a simple filling. So instead, a root canal is intended to deal with severe cavities to prevent a recurrence of pain and infection.
Sensitivity to Heat and Cold
What happens if you drink something hot or cold? This pain may feel like a sharp pain or dull throbbing. If it’s painful, that’s a good sign you need a cavity root canal. In any case, it’s a sign that nerves and blood vessels in the tooth are damaged.
Signs of Infection on the Gums
Root canals treat infected teeth. When you have an infected or abscessed tooth, you’ll have some of the same symptoms that you would with any other infection. However, in this case, your gums may be red and swollen. You might even notice a pimple or boil just above or below the tooth.
The Tooth Is Damaged
If your tooth has become chipped or cracked, that leaves an opening just like a cavity. Unfortunately, that leaves space for bacteria to enter and an infection to begin. When this happens, the best way to treat that is with root canal therapy.
The kind of infection that calls for a root canal is ongoing and intense. Patients often report feeling pain in their jaws, other teeth, even their ears. In some cases, you may feel intermittent relief, but the ache always returns.
The damage and infection to your tooth may cause the pulp to die. That causes the tissue in your tooth to decay and break down. If that happens, your tooth could take on a gray or brown color. You can see this best in front teeth.
If an injury has caused your tooth to crack or break, that opening could allow bacteria to cause an infection. Even though this isn’t a traditional cavity, a root canal is still called for in these situations.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
Many people dread having a root canal done because they perceive it’s going to be exceptionally painful. However, thanks to advances in dental technology, the procedure is more like getting a deeper filling that simply takes longer. Your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the pain. The most discomfort you feel will come from having your mouth open for some time.
In addition to drilling out your tooth, the dentist will also take steps to treat the infection and stop it from spreading. For example, they may prescribe an oral antibiotic or apply an antibiotic treatment directly to the tooth. In some cases, two appointments are required: the first to clean out the infected tissue and send you home to take medication to treat the infection, and the second to complete the process and give you a permanent filling.
Reach Out to Access Endodontics Today
Many dentists refer root canals to specialists like Access Endodontics who can do this work. If you have any questions regarding an upcoming root canal, you should speak with your dentist. They will be able to tell you why they recommended this procedure and what you can expect.