While root canal procedures don’t cause pain, pain is associated with the part of the tooth’s structure known as the root canal. Confusion arises when people use root canal to mean the therapy that gets you out of pain. You may find yourself needing emergency root canal treatment for much-needed relief.
About the root canal
Your teeth are layered. The first layer is the hard, white enamel. The second layer is the yellowish, softer dentin. The third layer is the pulp, which contains tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.
The roots make up the lower two-thirds of the tooth under the gum line. They serve as anchors. Root canals extend from the tip of the roots at the bottom of the tooth to the pulp chamber. Nerves run through these canals.
Knowing the anatomy of your teeth, it’s hopefully a little easier to see how damage to the sensitive nerve area can be quite painful, especially when the damage goes unnoticed for some time. Often, by the time your tooth really hurts, a serious infection has already developed.
About the infection
Tooth pulp becomes infected as a result of decay that may cause deep cavities. A fracture or other trauma may be to blame. Any of these conditions can allow harmful bacteria inside. Your body will attempt to fight off the infection by increasing blood flow and immune response. Pressure can’t be relieved from inside the tooth.
Know your pain
Do you cringe when eating or drinking hot or cold foods and beverages? Does the pain linger after your teeth have been exposed to heat or cold?
Another tell-tale sign of a problem requiring immediate treatment is intense pain when biting down. If this pain gets to the point where it doesn’t let up, you may have an abscess.
This pus-filled pocket is caused by deep bacterial infection, and is also characterized by:
- Severe, throbbing toothache
- Swelling of the face, cheeks, or under the eyes
- Swelling in the jaw or neck
- Foul-smelling and tasting fluid, as the abscess ruptures
When an abscess ruptures, you may finally experience some relief but it’s not time to rejoice. This complication of decay should not be taken lightly. Abscesses have been known to spread to other parts of the body, or set off a chain of events resulting in whole-body infection (sepsis).
Pain relief is a call away
Big Smile Dental gets you out of pain in no time. It can’t be said too often: root canal therapy itself is not painful. Thanks to medical advances, this procedure to clean and remove infected tissue is no more uncomfortable than a simple dental filling.
The treatment has earned an unfair reputation, due to the intensity and unpleasant nature of the problems that lead to the need for such procedures.
If you are asking about emergency root canals, Big Smile Dental’s expertise may already be needed. If you suspect you may need treatment or are already in pain, don’t wait. The dental team understands pain doesn’t arise only during office hours. Call 773-772-8400.