A few subtle signs may appear in the weeks or months before your dentist tells you that you need a root canal. The earlier you recognize these symptoms, the sooner you can begin treatment. Petoskey, MI, dentist Dr. Mark Makela provides root canal therapy and other treatments that help protect his patients' smiles.
What is root canal therapy?
During root canal therapy, the pulp at the center of your tooth is removed and replaced with a durable, rubber-based filling. Root canals are needed if the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. If you don't have a root canal, you may eventually lose your tooth. Despite the loss of your pulp, your tooth will function normally after root canal therapy. Crowns are often added to teeth that receive root canals to protect and strengthen them.
How can I tell if I need a root canal?
You may notice one or more of these signs and symptoms if your tooth needs a root canal:
- Pain That Comes and Goes: Initially, pain may be mild and might not even occur all the time.
- Sustained Pain: If you ignore those twinges, pain may eventually become constant and severe.
- Pain When Eating: Do you notice that your pain increases when you eat? If you have an infection or inflammation in your pulp, pain may worsen when you chew or even just push on your tooth. You may also notice that eating hot or cold food causes an increase in pain.
- A Funny Feeling: You may suspect that there's something not quite right with your tooth, but decide that you're overreacting. Paying attention to those feelings can help you ensure that you get the treatment that you need.
- Discoloration: Your tooth may darken or change color due to changes happening in the pulp.
- A Swollen Gum: The gum tissue around the problem tooth may become swollen, red and irritated.
- Abscess Symptoms: Abscesses are dental emergencies and require treatment with antibiotics and root canal therapy. If they're not treated promptly, the infection may spread to your brain, heart or lungs. Symptoms include pain, swollen lymph nodes, facial swelling, fever, pus around the tooth or a small bump on the gum. If you notice any of these symptoms, call your Petoskey dentist right away.
Root canals help protect your oral and general health. Call Petoskey, MI, dentist Dr. Mark Makela at (231) 347-2511 to schedule your appointment.