When Does a Tooth Require Root Canal Therapy?


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Root canal therapy involves removing your tooth’s nerve and sealing the end with a crown in order to save your tooth and prevent an extraction or infection from occurring. Your dentist can do the root canal or he or she may refer you to an endodontist, a dentist who specializes in root canal therapy.

It’s not always obvious when a tooth needs root canal therapy. You may be experiencing symptoms that could indicate that a root canal is needed—including tooth discoloration, extreme pain or sensitivity, or even swelling of the gums around the affected area—but what situations require root canal therapy for your tooth?

Extensive Decay

If you have untreated tooth decay such as a cavity, it could reach the point where it’s actually affected your tooth’s inner nerve. This type of extensive decay may be too large to repair with a filling. If the decay goes deep into your tooth, you may need root canal therapy in order to save your natural tooth. During this procedure, your dentist will remove the decay from the nerve and seal your tooth to protect it from further decay or infection and attach a crown onto the end.

Infected Tooth Root

If your tooth decay is extensive enough, it could cause an infection in your tooth’s root. Other factors that could cause an infection include trauma to your tooth or chips and cracks in your tooth, which can allow bacteria to enter this sensitive area of your teeth. An infected tooth root may cause extreme pain in some patients, but other patients may not experience any symptoms on account of the fact that the root is dead. Regardless, an infected tooth root generally means that a root canal is needed to clear out the infection and seal the tooth.

Trauma to the Tooth

If your tooth has been directly impacted by some type of trauma such as an accident, it’s time to visit your dentist. Trauma to the tooth might not be visible to you, but your dentist can tell if the trauma will lead to problems later. Your tooth may become infected from a small crack, or your tooth’s nerve may be exposed from visible trauma to the area. If your tooth has received trauma, see your dentist. The longer you put off treatment, the greater chance you have of needing root canal therapy for your affected tooth.

The only way to know for sure if your tooth needs root canal therapy is to visit your dentist. Many problems that cause the need root canal therapy can be prevented, such as tooth infections and tooth decay. By regularly visiting your dentist, you can prevent problems such as these from happening. If your tooth has experienced trauma, a dentist can tell you if a root canal is needed to save the tooth. Contrary to popular belief, root canals are a painless procedure that enable you to keep your natural tooth— so visit your dentist today to see if you need one to save your tooth!

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When Does a Tooth Require Root Canal Therapy?
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Contrary to popular belief, root canals are a painless procedure that enable you to keep your natural tooth— so visit your dentist today to see if you need one to save your tooth!

Author

Dr. Richard Pollock
Dr. Richard Pollock

Dr. Pollock is a member of the American Dental Association, Virginia Dental Association, Northern Virginia Dental Association and the American Association of Endodontists. For more information on Dr. Pollock visit http://www.va-rootcanal.com

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