Fixing teeth

Do I need a Root Canal

Root canals are "scary," and it's one of the biggest fears of people going to a dentist. However, just a small percentage of the 74% of people who went to the dentist last year needed a root canal. If your toothaches and  pain symptoms won't subside, it's best to call us and schedule a dental examination.

Pain and discomfort may be a serious dental issue, and a root canal won't heal on its own.

Signs That You Might Need a Root Canal

Toothaches and pain are never fun, but they can be caused by numerous things, such as:

  • Food lodged in your teeth
  • Chipped tooth
  • Cracked tooth
  • Cavity
  • Enamel erosion

Or, you may have severe tooth decay or sensitivity and require a root canal. Often, when people come into our office, we're able to treat their tooth pain without needing to perform a root canal. First, we perform an examination to determine the cause of your pain or discomfort, and then we take the necessary measures to fix the issue.

We may be able to:

  • Clean the food particles out of your teeth if they cause discomfort
  • If you have a cavity, we can remove the decay and place a filling in your mouth to prevent further decay from occurring
  • Chipped or cracked teeth can be restored using several techniques, such as bonding, veneers, crowns, bridges with sedation if you have dental anxiety
  • Tooth enamel erosion may be repaired using crowns to protect the teeth

So, we can use one or more of these restoration techniques to try and correct the tooth decay and/or damage that has occurred.

How Long Has Your Tooth Been Hurting?

Woman holding left cheek with hand in tooth pain

Tooth pain is miserable, but it's your body's way of saying that something isn't right. Unfortunately, while the treatments above can correct most issues with a person's tooth, they cannot fix a root canal.

When you come into our office, we'll ask you a series of questions to better understand what you're experiencing.

Primarily, we'll want to know how long you've been in pain. Many toothaches will dissipate on their own, but a root canal is likely to persist even if the pain level does subside to some degree.

We'll also want to know the level of pain that you're experiencing.

  • Is the pain manageable?
  • Is the pain intense?
  • Has the pain gotten worse or better?

If the pain is mild, this is often a good sign because you likely have a cavity or other tooth-related issues that don't require a root canal. However, if the pain is intense, we'll perform an examination and will likely take images of your tooth, too.

Images and an exam by one of our dental experts will help us better understand what dental procedures must be made.

When an infection has set into the root of the tooth, a root canal is likely required.

In the worst-case scenario, the tooth will lose too much of its surrounding structure, and we will recommend that the entire tooth be extracted and something like a dental implant be used to replace it. However, we will do our best to save your original tooth.

Call Us for an Emergency Dental Examination

A dental exam is a necessity if you have pain. If you're experiencing severe pain or you have an abscess, call us immediately to schedule an emergency endodontic exam and procedure. If you experience any of the following, you need emergency dental care:

  • You notice swelling in your face
  • You notice an abscess or bump in your mouth
  • When you bite down, you experience pain
  • Your tooth is changing colour

Often, all of the symptoms above are signs that you have a tooth infection. Any type of tooth infection is a cause for concern and requires immediate dental care.

What a Root Canal Entails

If we determine that you do need a root canal, the process will involve:

  • Numbing the area where the root canal is necessary to ensure that you don't feel the procedure taking place
  • Clean the tooth to ensure that there are no food particles or bacteria that can enter the tooth
  • Drill a small hole in the tooth
  • Clean the infected portion of the tooth to remove the infection completely
  • Continue cleaning the interior of the tooth

Finally, when we're satisfied that the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and that your infection is removed, we'll fill in the tooth with a substance that is similar to rubber. Once the tooth is filled, we'll use a filling or crown to restore the tooth's structure.

Restoring the tooth's integrity is a top priority because it enables you to eat and enjoy life as normal.

We'll often place a crown on the tooth to protect it from any further damage. Crowns have come a long way in recent years, and we're able to colour the crown to ensure that it matches the natural colour of your surrounding teeth.

Crowns shouldn't be noticeable when you smile, so we'll do our utmost to properly match the crown's colour.

When you come into our office, you can expect the procedure to take 30to 90 minutes. Often, a root canal will take at least 45 minutes and can take much longer, too. In severe and complex cases, it can take 90minutes to fix your tooth.

Once complete, you'll be on your way and will notice that the pain subsides each day after the procedure.

If you think you might need a root canal, don't hesitate to call us and schedule an appointment with our team.

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Dr. Gurpreet Sidhu - Dentist at Lighthouse Dental Centre and Blue Water Dental
Dr. Gurpreet Sidhu

With nearly two decades of experience, Dr. Sidhu enjoys helping his patients learn about dentistry. Knowledge is meant to be improved, challenged and shared.

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