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Root Canal Therapy: The Warning Signs

When your tooth pulp that is located in the center of each of your teeth becomes damaged or infected, the best way to save the tooth is to have root canal therapy. This safe and effective treatment is not as painful as its reputation, and should not be avoided. Watching for signs that your tooth pulp has been compromised is an important step in saving your tooth, so that treatment may be performed before your condition becomes too advanced.

There are not always signs associated with a tooth that requires root canal therapy. Sometimes only examination, X-rays, and other tests will reveal problems. This is one reason regular dental visits are important. In other cases, symptoms are present to indicate pulp damage. Some typical signs include:

  • Pain that is often related to inflamed tooth pulp, which can be caused by deep decay, chipped or cracked teeth, repeated dental procedures, faulty crowns, infection, tooth grinding, or periodontitis. Inflammation increases pressure inside the pulp cavity and triggers the tooth’s nerves. The pain may be in the tooth itself, or it can be referred to other areas in your mouth. Pain when eating or sensitivity to hot or cold is also common.
  • Gum swelling near the damaged tooth
  • Facial swelling
  • Tooth loosening
  • Pus around the damaged tooth
  • Tooth discoloration, which usually occurs over a longer period of time. Discoloration can take weeks, months, or years to appear. This is another reason for regular dental checkups.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, or if your dentist identifies problems upon examination, it’s time to consider root canal therapy. Saving your natural tooth is almost always better than having to replace a lost tooth. Root canal therapy can help you keep your smile intact, as well as its function. Your natural sensations of a real tooth remain, as well as normal biting abilities. Don’t shy away from treatment; take care of tooth pulp problems when they arise.

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