A root canal is a procedure to repair the inside of a tooth. It involves doing work to remove diseased material around the pulp, root, and canal surrounding the root. This is one of the last possible options for saving a tooth before a dentist will consider extraction.
Can you tell whether you might be a candidate for root canal services? A dentist usually looks at the following 7 indications of whether a patient may require a root canal.
The presence of nerves in the roots of teeth means that problems that reach that far tend to cause lots of pain. Notably, the nerves can die if someone ignores the pain too long and allows the infection to spread. During the transition period from initial infection to nerve death, though, there can be prolonged and challenging pain in the patient's mouth.
An infection of a tooth's root can spread to other parts of the body. Typically, this spread affects the face. Your body may react to the infection by fighting it, and that process can lead to facial swelling.
Given the amount of internal damage in a tooth that's a candidate for a root canal, some patients experience tooth deterioration. Pieces of the tooth may break off.
Bear in mind that the process can go the other way, too. A chip in a tooth could cause an infection to spread to the root.
Ear, Nose, or Throat Infections
Dental infections can continue to spread to other nearby areas. Oftentimes, these end up being ear, nose, or throat infections.
An infected tooth may begin to discolor. This happens because of infected materials, and it also happens because blood flow to living tissue in the tooth may have stopped. Ultimately, the surrounding tooth becomes unhealthy and unable to maintain its normal color. Typically, the tooth will begin to darken.
The nerve in the affected tooth can become very active, especially when subjected to strong sensations. People frequently have trouble consuming hot or cold beverages or foods. Similarly, they may have reactions to concentrations of sweetness.
An infection will change the chemistry around the tooth. Likewise, an infection can open pathways into the dental bone area between the teeth and a person's jaw. As this occurs, two things may happen. First, acidic materials can get into the tooth socket and loosen it. Second, the bone around the tooth may atrophy, reducing its anchor. Both will cause the tooth to move around, and you may feel it when you brush your tongue against the tooth.
For more information on root canals, contact a professional near you.