Many patients are unsure if they need to see a root canal dentist but are concerned about the health of their teeth or are experiencing tooth pain. It is important to keep in mind that most dentists can perform a root canal but by visiting a specialist, your level of care can improve. As with any medical procedure, when you see an expert there is less of a chance that there will be complications, the procedure is done faster, and discomfort is minimized. As they say, practice makes perfect, and the same holds true for dentistry.
There are some signs you can watch for that will give you a good indication that it is time to schedule an appointment.
- Tooth pain that won't go away. It is common to have tooth pain from time to time. In fact, if you experience pain - brush and floss your teeth. Sometimes food is stuck in there without you realizing it and simply flossing can make the pain go away after a few minutes. If the pain is persistent and gets worse when you bite down, this is a sign that you need to call a root canal dentist.
- Your tooth is darkening. Teeth become stained but when they do it is typically a yellowish color. If your tooth gets dark all of a sudden, that is a sign of a major infection and warrants an office visit.
- Breath that smells really bad! Everyone can experience bad breath after eating strong smelling cheese or garlic fries – that's normal. If, however, your breath smells terrible after brushing and flossing and continues to smell bad – that is typically a sign of an infection or a lot of bacteria in your mouth. When you visit the dentist, we can remove that bacteria and look for signs of infection in order to remove it.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold. If your tooth is infected, it will likely become more sensitive. If you eat an ice cream and your tooth hurts once; that isn't a cause for concern. Teeth, like any area of the body, can be sensitive from time to time. If, however, this happens on a regular basis with hot, cold or both, you should schedule an appointment to have your teeth examined.
A root canal dentist can identify any infected teeth and remove the infection. This is important because when a root canal is completed correctly, it makes it possible for your natural tooth to be saved instead of needing to be pulled. In this scenario, the dental pulp (soft center of the tooth) is what becomes infected. The dentist removes this area of the tooth and will often remove the roots as well. Once your adult teeth are in place, the roots are no longer necessary. Removing them won't impact the long-term functionality of your tooth but if they are infected, they must be removed in order to prevent the infection from spreading into your jaw.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a dental exam right away.