Are your teeth sensitive to hot and cold temperatures? Does it hurt when you bite down? Are you experiencing a toothache that just won’t go away? If you said yes to any of these questions, you might need a root canal. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds! In fact, a root canal might just solve your pain problems and save the tooth. If you think you might need this treatment, read on as a dentist in Suwanee talks about what to watch out for.
Anatomy of a Tooth
To understand more about root canals, first we have to look at the segments of a tooth. Teeth have two basic parts:
- Crown: the visible part that projects into the mouth.
- Root: the hidden part that sits below the gumline and is attached to the jaw.
However, these two sections can be further split into several more parts:
- Enamel: the white, outermost part of the tooth.
- Dentin: a layer of hard tissue underneath the enamel that contains microscopic tubes. When the enamel is damaged, heat or cold can enter the tooth and cause sensitivity or pain.
- Pulp: the softer, living inner structure of the teeth.
- Root canal: the passageway that nerves and blood vessels use to travel through the tooth.
- Cementum: hard connective tissue that covers the tooth root and attaches to the periodontal ligament.
- Periodontal ligament: system of connective tissue fibers that connect the root of a tooth to its socket.
How Toothaches Can Develop
Toothaches are the most common sign that a root canal might be necessary. The most frequent causes of toothaches include:
- Tooth decay such as cavities
- Tooth fracture
- Abscessed tooth
- Damaged filling
- Repetitive motions, such as grinding teeth or chewing gum
- Infected gums
What Issues May Need Root Canal Treatment
In some cases, a toothache, especially one that persists for longer than a day or two, might be a symptom of a larger problem. If your dentist catches this issue before it progresses, it can often be solved by a simple filling or crown. However, certain circumstances could require a more invasive root canal procedure, such as:
- Infected or inflamed nerve or pulp due to decay
- Cracked or broken tooth
- Swollen gums
- Prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Pain when biting down
Having one or more of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need a root canal. Still, it’s best to ask your dentist to examine your mouth and determine what type of treatment you need.
Should I Be Scared of Getting a Root Canal?
Root canals have a reputation of being painful, but they are actually no more uncomfortable than getting an ordinary filling. The pain associated with root canals usually refers to the initial infection itself and not the actual procedure. You might be sore for a few days after the treatment, but after that you shouldn’t feel any more pain in that tooth!
The procedure itself is simple and nothing to worry about. Here’s how it will typically go:
- Your dentist in Suwanee will numb the area with a local anesthetic.
- They will create a small hole in the tooth to reach and remove the pulp.
- After cleaning the inside of the tooth, they will fill and seal it.
- Later, you will get a crown placed on top of the tooth to protect it.
Now that you understand root canals a little more, you know that there’s no reason to be afraid of them. The most important thing to remember is that if you are experiencing any tooth discomfort, contact your dentist right away. If he or she catches the problem early on, you can avoid a root canal, save that tooth, and preserve your beautiful natural smile!
About the Practice
The team at Dentistry at Suwanee is dedicated to making patients feel as comfortable as possible while providing high-quality treatment. Drs. Joonkyu Hwang, Katherine Lee, and Brian Lee regularly attend educational lectures and seminars across the country to ensure that patients are getting the best of what modern-day dentistry has to offer. If you have a toothache and think you may need a root canal, contact Dentistry at Suwanee here or call (678)-381-2875.