Root Canal

Why is a root canal necessary?

There are many things that can damage the pulp or nerve of the tooth. The following are some of the more common reasons for needing root canal treatment.

Pain: A toothache is the most common symptom of needing a root canal. The pain that comes from a tooth needing a root canal is fairly specific. If the tooth is still alive, the affected person will experience extreme sensitivity to heat or cold, and that sensitivity will continue even after the hot or cold stimulus is taken away from the tooth. The tooth may start to hurt spontaneously, in the middle of the night, or sometimes when the patient isn't even using the affected tooth to eat or drink. The pain can progress to a very severe generalized headache that may cause the person to even forget what initially caused the pain. If the tooth is dead and has become abscessed, the patient will feel pain when he or she chews or puts pressure on the tooth. An abscess may or may not produce swelling or bleeding around the tooth, and sometimes it causes significant swelling of the cheek, jaw, or throat. If this swelling is noticed, treatment needs is urgent -- even it that means going to urgent care or the emergency room of a hospital. Many other conditions of the mouth can masquerade as a toothache. Therefore, it is very important, when feeling some pain around a tooth, to get a thorough examination with pulp vitality testing by a licensed dentist for a proper diagnosis.

There are other causes of symptoms that are similar to those requiring root canal treatment. Root surfaces that have become exposed as a result of gum recession can mimic cold sensitivity. Sinus congestion can produce pressure around the roots of the upper teeth and cause pain upon chewing which mimics root canal pain. Jaw pain can either be an indication of pain in the jaw joint, or pain referred from a tooth needing a root canal. Even gum disease can mimic the throbbing pain around teeth that can feel similar to root canal pain. Continue Reading

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Reviewed on 7/2/2014

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