A root canal is often necessary to restore a tooth that has been affected by trauma or deep decay. Should an infection penetrate the protective enamel layer and reach the blood vessels and nerves inside your tooth, endodontic treatment will usually be needed to remove the infected and dead pulp tissue and eliminate pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of a root canal infection
Decay inside your tooth pulp will usually result in varying, but specific symptoms that can easily alert you to a root canal infection. The most common symptom that you need endodontic treatment is sharp and intense pain on your tooth surface, especially when biting down on food or your teeth. A dull ache and pressure may also occur after chewing, which indicates that the blood vessels inside your tooth are infected.
Root canal infections damage nerve endings that are responsible for perceiving temperature, resulting in lingering pain, especially after taking hot or cold foods. You may also experience some tenderness and swelling in the nearby gums.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should visit an endodontist for inspection and diagnosis of the affected tooth. Seeking treatment early could better your chance of a having a successful root canal, and ensure that the tooth pulp isn't extensively damaged.
Post treatment care
It is normal to experience a little tenderness after the root canal treatment as the tooth undergoes the natural healing process. Pain medication could help suppress any pain before the pulp heals. Avoid chewing anything with your treated tooth for at least a few days, so as to allow it to heal properly. Chewing with a numb tooth may also cause you to bite your tongue or cheeks.
A root canal is only the first step in restoring a deeply decayed tooth. The tooth will need to be restored to ensure the infection does not recur, or the remaining pulp exposed to pressure and food particles. In order to seal the top of the tooth, filling materials is usually inserted as soon as the tenderness on the tooth resides. With proper restoration, your tooth will be tightly sealed, restoring full biting function.
Be sure to consult your endodontist in case you experience any swelling in your treated tooth or surrounding gums after the root canal. An allergic reaction to your pain medication such as a rash, hives or itching, or an uneven bite after restoration could also indicate something is wrong, so be sure to inform your endodontist about is as soon as possible. For a better chance of success, maintain good oral hygiene and ensure worn off filling material is replaced. For more information about endodontics, contact a professional like John P Poovey DMD PC.