There are few things more painful than a toothache. Well, there are probably quite a few things that are more painful, but a toothache is especially torturous. It’s hard to eat, hard to sleep, and hard to enjoy anything, really. Maybe it’s the proximity to your face and brain, but a toothache is no laughing matter, mainly because it hurts to laugh.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure in which the dentist extracts an infected or damaged tooth. Actually, the dentist concentrates on the tooth’s pulp – the pulpy center comprised of blood vessels and nerve endings. Pulp flows through the roots of your tooth in a narrow channel, and when this pulp becomes infected or damaged, it hurts. A lot.
Common causes include cracks, deep cavities, trauma to the tooth, or repeated treatments that have proved ineffective. In the simplest sense, root canal therapy is when the dentist locates an infection or damage to the pulp, cleans it, disinfects it, fills it, and then seals the tooth to prevent further infection.
How do you know when you need to get a root canal?
The quick answer to this question is pain. If you have severe and abiding pain emanating from your teeth and gums, this is a good indication that something is not right. (To quote Shakespeare, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” only if Denmark was your mouth.)
Here are some specifics so that you’ll know without a doubt if you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist.
- Tooth pain: pain is the body’s way of letting your brain know something isn’t right, and it’s the best indicator of a damaged or infected tooth. Maybe it comes and goes throughout the day, and it may heighten when you bite down on something. It also may emanate from your gums, and they will holler if prodded too much. These are all signs that you should visit your dentist, and quickly.
- Hot and cold: you’ll also notice that your affected tooth and the surrounding area in the gums are extra sensitive to hot and cold, and even when the source has been removed, the tooth can ache for a while.
- Discoloration: your gums may be red and angry-looking, or perhaps purple and bruised. Any and all of these are signs that, if you want to alleviate your pain, get thee to thy dentist.
- Swelling: if your gums are palpably bigger and tender to the touch, you’ll know it. Run your tongue over your gums. Do they feel weird? Maybe they’re hotter than normal, almost feverish. Maybe they’re just bigger. Whatever it is, one thing is clear: they aren’t happy gums.
- Ill feeling: when your mouth aches, your face aches, and when your face aches, your brain aches and then it might as well be your whole body. With a severe toothache, you’ll tend to feel ill all over,. This overall feeling of illness may also be due to your inability to eat or drink or sleep or live comfortably. The result is the same – you will feel pain in your face until you head to your dentist.
When you haven’t got time for the pain
Many people fear getting a root canal because of the pain they associate with the procedure. But, if you think about it, the actual pain is the lead-up to root canal therapy. If your face hurts enough, the root canal while it may be unpleasant should largely be a relief.
This is especially true when you’re in the hands of competent dentists like Dr. Gordon and Dr. Baker at Beach City Dental. These professionals know how to get the job done with the least amount of discomfort in their patients.
If you’re undecided about whether or not you should check in with your dentist about some achiness around your jaw or mouth, here’s food for thought – the pain will not go away until the infection or damage is taken care of. So what are you waiting for?
Don’t let a toothache be a pain in the mouth. Head straight to your dentist to find relief.