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Signs You Need A Root Canal (And What To Expect)

by Caitlin Obara

Root canals are relatively routine dental procedures, but they are still quite serious in nature. When a person needs a root canal, the pulp of the tooth has become seriously infected to the point that it needs to be entirely removed in order to save the tooth. This could have happened as a result of severe tooth trauma, a cavity, or even an abscess. Read on to learn about the common signs that you may need a root canal and what to expect if you do need one.

Signs You Might Need a Root Canal

First of all, if you've been visiting the dentist regularly (at least twice a year), then you probably aren't going to need a root canal out of nowhere unless you experience some kind of severe tooth trauma. Therefore, if you haven't been to the dentist in awhile and are experiencing any of the following signs or symptoms, this might mean you'll need a root canal the next time you see your dentist (though only he or she will be able to tell you for sure).

Among the most common signs you need a root canal are severe tooth pain and prolonged sensitivity. However, some people with infected tooth pulp also experience tooth discoloration, a recurring dot or pimple on the gums, or even unusual swelling of the gums. If you've been experiencing any of all of these signs, you'll want to schedule an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.

What to Expect From a Root Canal Procedure

If it turns out you do need a root canal, it's important that you know what to expect from the procedure. Typically, the procedure will start with an injection in the gums that will numb the area completely. Then, a hole will be drilled into the tooth so that the dentist can use a special tool to remove all of the infected pulp within the tooth itself.

Once all the infected pulp is removed, the dentist will fill the tooth cavity with the same type of filling that would be used for a normal cavity. Finally, a crown is placed over the tooth to protect it from future damage, such as cracking or breaking.

A root canal procedure isn't a pleasant experience, but thanks to general anesthesia, you won't have to feel any pain while it's happening. However, once the numbness wears off, your dentist, such as Van Buskirk & Krischke DDS, LLC, may recommend that you take some pain killers to ease any temporary discomfort.