What kind of treatment do you imagine when you hear the words “dental emergency”? Many people picture the replanting of lost teeth or using a crown to hide dental damage; a procedure like root canal therapy rarely comes to mind. However, in certain cases – such as when an infection has become painful to the point of interrupting your daily life – you might need to contact an emergency dentist to have the procedure done as soon as possible. Read on to learn more about root canal therapy – as well as how to recognize cases where it’s urgently needed.
Why is Root Canal Therapy Performed?
At the very center of the tooth is the pulp, a soft layer of tissue that holds the nerves and blood vessels that play a key role during dental development. Pulp can become infected by bacteria that have slipped past the protective enamel and dentin layers. Such infections do not get better on their own and could eventually reach the point where they could spread and cause permanent damage to the rest of your body. Typically, the only way to treat a tooth infection without losing the tooth itself is with root canal therapy. This procedure removes the pulp along with any other harmful substances that might be left behind – thus stopping the problem from getting any worse.
When Is an Emergency Root Canal Needed?
Root canal therapy doesn’t always have to be performed right away (though obviously you don’t want to delay it for too long). However, the following symptoms are signs that you might need the treatment immediately:
- Deep, prolonged pain that doesn’t seem to go away
- Discomfort that has started to radiate over a larger area
- Difficulties with eating your favorite foods
- A tooth that has become especially sensitive to touch
- A small red bump called an abscess forming on the gums
These warning signs usually mean that the infection is quite advanced, and if it’s not removed in the near future, the tooth will most likely be lost. Furthermore, the pain of your toothache could reach the point of getting in the way of everyday tasks at work or at home.
What Should You Do If You Need a Root Canal?
Obviously, you can call your emergency dentist if you think you have a severe infection that needs urgent attention. However, if you know an endodontist, it’s generally better to get in touch with their practice if you think you need root canal therapy. After all, endodontists have far more training and experience with the procedure; not only will there be less of a risk of complications afterwards, but they’ll also be better equipped to keep you comfortable during the surgery.
Root canal therapy is only required in a few situations, but in each of those cases it’s absolutely vital for preserving your natural smile for years to come. Don’t hesitate to make the call as soon as you notice that the pain has become unbearable.
About the Author
Dr. Gregory C. Gell is a proud Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics. Having previously worked for a private practice, he is currently running his own clinic, Afton Endodontics, in order to provide the Concord community with the highest quality root canal treatments. If you have a toothache that you believe has become an emergency, get in touch with him right away by calling (704) 784-4625; you can also contact the practice by visiting his website.