Why Would You Need Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment is needed for two main reasons: infection or irreversible damage to the pulp. An untreated cavity is a common cause of pulp infection. The decay erodes the enamel and dentin of the tooth until it opens into the root canal system, allowing bacteria to infect the pulp. Infections inside teeth don’t respond to antibiotic treatment. The inflammation caused by the infection restricts the tooth’s blood supply, so antibiotics in the bloodstream can’t reach the infection very well. The reduced blood supply also limits the pulp’s ability to heal itself.
Signs and Symptoms
If you have an infection of the pulp, you may not feel any pain at first. But if left untreated, the infection will cause pain and swelling. In some cases, an abscess will form. Eventually, the tooth may need to be extracted. Some indications that a tooth may need a root canal are:
- A tooth that hurts significantly when you bite down on it, touch it or push on it
- Sensitivity to heat
- Sensitivity to cold that lasts longer than a couple of seconds
- Swelling near the affected tooth
- A discolored tooth, with or without pain
- A broken tooth
After Root Canal Treatment
Your tooth will be sore for two to three days after the procedure, and the dentist will tell you to avoid chewing on the affected side. The worse the infection and inflammation was prior to root canal treatment, the sorer the tooth will be after treatment. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers to ease the discomfort.