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Root Canals and You

Root Canals

If you’ve ever had a root canal done, or if you even know someone who has, then you’re pretty aware that it is not a fun procedure. At all. Tooth pain can be an irritating or even agonizing problem, but even so, knowing a root canal might be necessary to fix the problem can really put an ache on you- and possibly your wallet. However, pain in the mouth doesn’t automatically mean a root canal is necessary- in some circles, there is an interesting debate about root canals. Read on for more about root canals, and the situations that require them.

When You Should Consider A Root Canal

Consider A Root Canal

To understand root canals, it’s necessary to understand the anatomy of the tooth. Aside from the harder outer layer, the inside of the tooth is filled with what’s known as pulp; this, unlike the rest of the tooth, is living tissue, supplying blood and nutrients to the area. This crucial part of the tooth can be made vulnerable to infection, however. If there is trauma to the tooth that causes a crack for example, either from numerous dental procedures, poor dental hygiene, or even trauma/injuries to the face, the pulp may be exposed to bacteria. A root canal fixes that.

A root canal is a procedure designed to deal with the infection. The toothache you feel may be an indication of infection because, in the mouth, toothaches are part of the immune response. If infection occurs in the tooth, it will hurt, which is a sign you may need the root canal. However, even if this is the case, there is one more option. Instead of the root canal, a patient can opt for extracting the infected tooth, which takes care of the infection immediately and allows the bone socket a chance to heal up.  The tooth is gone, however.

The Assessment Process

Assessment Process

The pain and inflammation of the pulps nerves is known as irreversible pulpitis. You’ll notice it in the form of an increased sensitivity to temperature changes, and throbbing pain. This will understandably make consuming relatively hot or cold food and drinks an agonizing chore, and even among lukewarm meals, any pressure to the tooth will hurt as well. At this point, the living tissues within the tooth are dying off, so it makes sense.  In order to determine the presence of irreversible pulpitis, generally, a dentist will perform several tests. On the patient. It’s their tooth at stake, after all.

Unfortunately, these assessments can be difficult for a number of reasons. As tooth pain is associated with a number of mouth ailments, it’s not easy to determine which is the case. Every situation is unique in this regard. The hope is that through performing these various dental tests, the dentist will be able to determine if the issues of pain and discomfort associated with a given tooth are a result of irreversible pulpitis or not. Assuming this is the case, it might be time for the root canal; however, it would be unwise to act prematurely even at this stage.