Do I Need a Root Canal?

Woman holding side of face in pain

The only person truly capable of telling you whether or not you need a root canal is your dentist. Because of their qualifications, their expertise in the field of dentistry, and experience with numerous patients, dentists have the tools needed to diagnose your tooth pain, determine its causes, and treat it properly. However, wondering whether or not you need a root canal is a valid question to have, especially if you’re unsure and afraid of what your toothache may mean for your health. Both general dentists and endodontists perform root canals to treat very specific sets of symptoms, and the only true way you’ll find out if you need a root canal is to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

What Conditions Cause Toothaches?

Most toothaches are indicators of serious problems with your oral health; whether through improper oral care, a traumatic injury, or through a genetic condition, toothaches tend to need medical attention if the symptoms become severe enough. Some of the reasons for your toothache could fall under any of these causes:

  • Infection – Typically, infections in the tooth are caused by cavities, where the bacteria present in the tooth will begin to degrade away at the enamel, dentin, and pulp of the tooth. Once it reaches the pulp, the bacteria will form abscesses, or pus-filled pockets within the tooth, which can spread the infection throughout the body through the bloodstream.
  • Gum disease – Gum disease can cause an infection to occur because the gums, when not properly cleaned, can contain the sticky film of bacteria and plaque to form along with the teeth, leading to an infection in the tooth.
  • Grinding teeth – Grinding teeth during sleep can cause the teeth to hurt due to the wear down of the tooth’s enamel, specifically the grooves and fissures of the molars and premolars. While this condition, also called bruxism, can be especially painful, it can also be easily treated without the need for a root canal.
  • Tooth trauma – Any form of tooth trauma caused by accidents can cause the teeth to hurt. However, depending on the severity of the tooth, it may need a surgical tooth extraction to remove the pieces of the tooth.

The conditions that typically require a root canal will most likely involve the tooth having a cavity or infection, causing damage to the pulp of the tooth. When the pulp of the tooth is damaged, root canals can protect against further infection by removing the pulp from the tooth. Pupal damage from a toothache will appear with these symptoms:

  • Tooth pain when chewing
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Discoloration of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness of the gums
  • Drainage (abscesses) from the tooth

To best determine whether or not you need a root canal, schedule an appointment today with Dr. Jacob Laudie at Jacob Laudie Dental, located in Lee Summit, MO, today. At Dr. Laudie’s office, you’ll receive the most comprehensive dental care available.