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HomeHow to know when you need a root canal: Signs & symptoms

How to know when you need a root canal: Signs & symptoms

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Signs that you might need a root canal
Do you need root canal treatment?
How long does a root canal take?
Discuss what’s right for you and your dental health with a National Dental Care dentist

Wondering how to tell if you need a root canal treatment? In this article, we’ll explore the signs and symptoms that may mean a root canal is on the cards for you.

Root canal treatment is a common dental procedure that removes infected or damaged pulp from a decayed tooth. This saves the tooth and prevents it from dying, removing the risk of tooth loss and avoiding the need to remove and replace the tooth.

Read on to discover the signs that may mean you need root canal treatment - and be sure to reach out to your local National Dental Care or DB Dental practitioner if you’d like any advice on tooth decay or root canal treatment.

Signs that you might need a root canal

Root canal treatment is a very common procedure - in fact, it’s probably more common than you might think! What’s more, while many people feel apprehensive about this treatment, it’s actually relatively painless.

If you’re experiencing tooth pain or discomfort, there’s a chance you may have tooth decay, which in some cases will require a root canal to address. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms that could indicate the need for root canal treatment:

  • Tooth pain: Severe or persistent pain in the tooth or surrounding gums is one of the most common signs you may need a root canal. This pain may be more intense when eating or touching the tooth.
  • Severe sensitivity to hot and cold: Tooth sensitivity when drinking or eating hot or cold substances can indicate an infected nerve in your tooth, particularly if the sensitivity is always in one particular area rather than the entire mouth.
  • Gum sores: While mouth ulcers and canker sores are common and will clear up on their own, other types of gum sores can result from an infection. These will generally take the form of white bumps that appear beneath the surface of the gum line and may be accompanied by pain or a foul taste in your mouth.
  • A chipped tooth: If you’ve chipped your tooth as a result of an injury, you may be at higher risk of tooth infection. It’s therefore important to visit your dentist to have the chip repaired as soon as possible.
  • Tooth discolouration: While a discoloured tooth can occur for a variety of reasons, it can sometimes indicate nerve damage, as tooth pulp can become discoloured when infected. Cavities can also cause tooth discolouration, so visit your dentist if you notice unexplained discolouration in a tooth.

Do you need root canal treatment?

A root canal treatment can be an essential step in saving a tooth that’s become severely infected or badly damaged, whether by tooth decay, gum disease, injury or wear and tear.

In the vast majority of cases, preserving the damaged tooth with a root canal is much more preferable than removing the tooth and replacing it with an artificial tooth, such as a dental implant or dentures, which is a more complex and costly procedure.

If left untreated, a decayed tooth can lead to much more serious health problems, including potential tooth loss. It’s important to address tooth decay as early as possible to avoid complications, which is why a root canal can be a highly effective way of saving a tooth and preventing tooth loss.

How long does a root canal take?

Although a root canal falls under major dental treatment, it’s actually a simple and straightforward procedure that’s incredibly common.

A root canal procedure involves three stages - an initial clean to control bacterial infection, a further clean to eliminate all bacteria and infection, and finally, filling and sealing the root canal.

Root canal treatment may involve more than one visit to the dentist and can be spread over a few weeks - but remember, it’s still far better than risking losing the tooth or going through the complex process of removing and replacing it with an artificial tooth. Plus, you’ll be free of the pain and discomfort of a decayed tooth.

Find out more about the three stages of a root canal procedure here.

Discuss what’s right for you and your dental health with a National Dental Care dentist

A root canal is often one of the most effective treatment options for addressing a decayed tooth and avoiding further complications as a result of a tooth infection. This straightforward procedure will free you from the pain of tooth decay and allow you to get back to your normal activities without discomfort.

Wondering how much root canal treatment costs? While the cost will depend on a variety of factors, we’ve put together some handy information on root canal costs here.

If you need advice on tooth decay or a root canal treatment, chat to your local National Dental Care or DB Dental practitioner. You can find your nearest practice and book an appointment today.