An endodontist works with the soft tissue inside the tooth, which is known as the pulp. Sometimes, the tooth can become diseased. This may happen from decay, an injury or gum disease. The good news is that an endodontist works to save diseased teeth.One of the most common types of diseased teeth is a decayed…
What Is an Emergency Root Canal?
Dental pain, and treatments such as a root canal, can be as much of an emergency as any other physical symptom. According to the American Dental Association, more than 2 million people a year visit the emergency room for symptoms that turn out to be dental-related. When dealing with dental pain and related symptoms, you need to evaluate whether to wait and have the problem fixed at a routine appointment or get it handled right away.
Reasons to have a root canal
Root canals have to be performed when there is damage to the root system of a tooth. Within the root is a soft substance called pulp. This pulp contains tissue, nerves and blood vessels. When the pulp gets inflamed or infected, it can cause a variety of issues. A root canal removes the damaged tissue to fix the problem.
Routine root canals
Most root canals are not an emergency and can be handled at a scheduled appointment. While not an emergency, this type of problem should not be ignored. The sooner it is taken care of, the less pain the patient has to endure. These are some common symptoms that may call for a routine root canal:
- Pain and extreme sensitivity to hot or cold substances
- Pain while drinking or eating
- A tooth that has regular, throbbing pain
- A tooth that is discoloring to a gray or black color
- Gum pain around a tooth, or a tooth that is sore to touch
Emergency root canals
Some situations may call for an emergency root canal. These are situations that threaten the overall health of the patient and can affect quality of life. When any of the following occur, it is advised to call a dentist or endodontist right away:
- Redness and inflammation around the infected tooth
- A fever accompanying tooth pain that will not go away
- Swelling in the gums and tissue surrounding the infected tooth
- Heightened pain that affects the ability to function
- Inability to eat or drink due to tooth pain
Despite what many people think, the root canal procedure itself is not very painful. The pain comes from the infection. In one to two appointments, the dental professional removes all of the infected material and repairs the damage. All painful symptoms should be gone after a successful procedure.
A root canal occurs through several sequential steps. To begin, the dentist or endodontist removes all of the infected pulp material inside the tooth’s root. This area is thoroughly cleaned to remove all bacteria. Next, an inert material made of paste and a rubber compound is inserted into the tooth’s root. Finally, the tooth is closed with either a crown or a filling. This seals off the tooth and protects the root system from further infection.
Tooth pain can be very frustrating and can impact every aspect of your life. Knowing why root canals are necessary and when an emergency treatment is justified can help you make the right choice in seeking dental treatment.
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