When do I Need a Root Canal

When do I Need a Root Canal?

What is a root canal? 

Simply put, a root canal is a filling for your tooth nerve. Once your tooth nerve is damaged, you must either perform a root canal treatment or extract the tooth. A filling is not going to get the job done any longer because fillings do not address the tooth nerve.

When do I need a root canal? 

You need a root canal whenever your tooth nerve is damaged. This can happen due to cavities, trauma, fracture or a large dental restoration. Unfortunately, tooth nerve damage is irreversible. Once your tooth nerve is damaged, your tooth will start hurting. You now need to perform a root canal treatment, which is removing the tooth nerve.


New or old cavities progress deeper into your tooth. Cavities start on the outer surface of teeth and work their way inside. Once the cavity bugs have reached the tooth nerve, the tooth is now infected. This can no longer be fixed with a filling and you will require a root canal treatment instead.


Your teeth can become damaged from trauma, such as a fall or car accident. If your tooth breaks into the nerve, then you will have to perform a root canal to protect your tooth from becoming infected. Sometimes teeth become damaged and develop a cyst years later. These teeth may also require a root canal treatment to eliminate the infection.


A fractured tooth is very difficult to identify. X-rays typically won’t show fractures, so it is very common to miss these cases during routine examination. It’s only when you start to feel pain that your dentist can test your teeth and determine if you have a fractured tooth. Fractures are more common in patients with missing teeth, heavy grinding and a poor bite. Large Dental Restoration Large fillings can break overtime. A large filling will undermine your tooth and weaken it. This can lead to nerve damage or fracture, which will result in a root canal. How to avoid ending up with a root canal as a result of a large dental restoration? One way is to avoid very large fillings and go for a crown instead since it better protects your teeth. Another way is to perform preventing root canal treatments. When we know that a filling is too deep and close to the nerve, it is often times best to perform the root canal in advance instead of waiting for the pain to kick in.


So how do I avoid ending up with a root canal infection? By brushing and flossing well, watching your diet and seeing your dentist twice a year. However, if your tooth is hurting, don’t postpone treatment. Toothache is not like a headache where you take a pill and the pain goes away. Toothaches always come back and they tend to get worse each time. You must treat your teeth before the pain ends up putting you in the emergency room!


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