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393 Ramapo Valley Road
Oakland, NJ 07436
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393 Ramapo Valley Road
Oakland, NJ 07436

How Do You Know If You Need A Root Canal?

February 21, 2024

If you are experiencing various dental symptoms, you may wonder if you need a root canal. The sooner you recognize these symptoms and seek dental care, the better the outcome will be. Everyone should be aware of the signs that may require a root canal treatment.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a common option for treating a damaged or infected tooth. It's similar to a routine filling and typically requires one or two appointments at a dental office. First, the dentist or endodontist will apply a topical numbing medication on the gums around the affected tooth before injecting a local anesthetic. You may feel a quick but sharp pinch or burn when they do this. The anesthetic helps prevent pain during the procedure, for which you will generally remain awake.

Once the tooth is numb, they will drill a small hole in the top of the tooth, exposing the dental pulp. They will clean the pulp out and coat the inside of the tooth with an antibiotic to clear the infection prevent reinfection. The dental provider will then fill and seal the tooth.

Numbness or discomfort for a few hours after the procedure is common, although most patients return to their normal routines the same day. Some patients will require a second dental appointment for a permanent filling or a crown on the tooth.

How Do You Know If You Need A Root Canal?

The following signs and symptoms may reveal that you need a root canal and should be discussed with your dental provider:

  • A chipped or cracked tooth—can allow harmful bacteria into the tooth
  • Persistent toothache—tooth pain that doesn't go away is always a reason to see the dentist and can indicate the need for a root canal
  • Continued sensitivity—sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers can be a sign of nerve damage within the tooth, necessitating a root canal
  • A darkened or discolored tooth—a tooth that suddenly turns grey or black may indicate tooth decay
  • Swelling—swelling of the gums can be a sign of an infected tooth, as well as swelling of the face and jaw
  • Bump on the gum—if you have a pimple-like bump on the gum, it may be a dental abscess, a sign of a severe infection

Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals

Are Root Canals Common?

Root canals are a common and routine procedure for saving infected teeth. Over 15 million are performed every year in the U.S. In fact, the average endodontist—a root canal specialist—performs about 25 root canals every week.

What are the Alternatives to a Root Canal?

Removing the tooth’s pulp with a root canal procedure is the only way to save a natural tooth with damaged, inflamed, or infected dental pulp. Cleanings or fillings won't fix the problem when it's this severe. The only alternative is a tooth extraction—removing the tooth altogether. Then, to maintain proper dental alignment and be able to chew and speak properly, the extracted tooth will need to be replaced with a bridge, implant, or partial denture. Root canals allow dental providers to save the teeth and avoid the need to replace an extracted tooth.

Root Canals at Oakland Dental Care

Learn more about root canal procedures and if you need one at Oakland Dental Care. Our compassionate dental professionals can explain what's going on in your mouth and offer the best treatment options available. Contact us today at 201-337-7733 or request an appointment online. 

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Oakland Dental Care
393 Ramapo Valley Road
Oakland, NJ 07436
Tel: 201-337-7733 | Fax: 201-337-4923
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393 Ramapo Valley Road Oakland, NJ 07436
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