Root canals are some of the most feared dental procedures. But the truth is, they’re quite common!
According to the American Association of Endodontists, around 15 million root canals are performed each year.
So when is it time to get over your fear of the dentist and schedule an appointment? Here are five signs you need a root canal that you shouldn’t ignore.
1. Swollen Gums
If you suspect you need a root canal, one of the first things you should check is your gum tissue.
Normal, healthy gums are generally a bright pink akin to Pepto Bismol. Infected gums, on the other hand, are a darker shade of red.
You may also notice that applying even a slight amount of pressure to your gum tissue causes discomfort or pain. Typically, this is a sign that bacteria has found its way into your tissue and will spread if left untreated.
2. Trouble Chewing
As the infection spreads, it may become difficult to eat or drink normally, especially if you’re eating or drinking something particularly hot or cold.
While there may be several things causing your discomfort, including gum disease, your pain could be caused by an exposed nerve on the affected tooth.
While you wait for your appointment, stick to warm, soft foods like rice, pasta, and oatmeal.
3. Discolored Teeth
Bad news: if your teeth look grayer or more yellow than before, there’s a good chance the infection has taken hold of your tooth. As a result, your dentist may suggest extracting the tooth altogether.
Not to worry, however, as the extraction process is no more painful or less routine than a standard root canal.
4. Strange Bumps on Your Gum
If bacteria remain in the gum for a while, unsightly bumps may form on the surface of your gums.
These nasty pustules look like a boil or a zit you’d get anywhere else. But given the already sensitive nature of gum tissue, they may be even more sensitive.
Remember, gum disease doesn’t go away on its own: it spreads. One affected tooth can soon become two or three, so it’s best to contact your dentist right away.
5. Loosened Teeth
Tooth decay affects all aspects of the tooth, from enamel to pulp. Over time, bacteria can make its way into the root of the impacted tooth, causing the tissue to rot.
Gently apply pressure to the affected tooth using your tongue. If you notice more movement than usual, especially compared to an unaffected tooth, it’s time to seek out emergency dental care.
Don’t Ignore These Signs You Need a Root Canal
Now that you know the signs you need a root canal, you can better gauge the severity of your situation.
Nobody wants to get a root canal. But if any of these signs seem familiar, it might be time to get in touch with your dentist.
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