When You Might Need an Emergency Root Canal

Emergency Root Canal Ann Arbor MI

Sudden dental pain might not always make you think of an emergency root canal, but understanding when such a procedure might be necessary is crucial for preserving not only your oral health but also your overall well-being. Root canals are often assumed to be intensive, but our Ann Arbor, MI, dentists want you to know that they play a vital role in addressing severe tooth decay, infection, and pain, ultimately saving your tooth from extraction.

Here’s what else you need to know about emergency root canals and when they’re the most appropriate.

Root Canals: What Is Involved?

Understanding the intricacies of root canals is the first step toward recognizing when one might be urgently needed. A root canal is a dental procedure that is often necessary when the soft inner part of a tooth, known as the pulp, becomes inflamed or infected. Deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the same tooth, trauma affecting the tooth’s nerve, a dental abscess, or a crack in the tooth can all cause this to happen.

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It’s the root canal procedure that then works to remove the damaged area of the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting, and then filling and sealing it to prevent further issues. Despite root canals having a notorious reputation, they do help save teeth that might otherwise need to be extracted. That’s because the act of removing the infected or damaged pulp still allows our dentists to preserve the tooth’s structure and alleviate pain.

Signs In Favor of an Emergency Root Canal

Acting swiftly and effectively is hugely important when it comes to preventing further complications with your smile. One of the most pronounced signs to take note of is intense pain that doesn’t subside with over-the-counter pain medication. This type of pain can indicate that the nerve inside the tooth is affected, necessitating immediate attention.

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Another telltale sign is swelling in the face or gums, which might suggest that an infection has spread beyond the tooth itself, potentially posing a broader health risk. For example, pimple-like swelling on the gums can mean an abscess, or pocket of pus, has resulted from the infection and intervention is required. While an ice pack or heating pad can be used to alleviate discomfort, if there is an infection present, more will need to be done to treat the source of the issue, not just the symptoms.

Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures that lingers long after the initial exposure can also be a sign of nerve damage or infection requiring a root canal. This sensitivity is often sharp and severe, differing from the mild discomfort one might experience with minor dental issues. A darkening of the tooth is another indicator; it suggests that the tooth’s nerve may be dead or dying, leading to discoloration.

Moreover, a cracked or chipped tooth that exposes the nerve is not only painful but also creates an entry point for bacteria, leading to infection and, potentially, the need for an emergency root canal. Being aware of all of the above symptoms allows you to seek timely dental care, preventing a situation from getting worse.

The Emergency Root Canal Process

Your visit with our emergency dentists will start with a thorough diagnosis to confirm that a root canal is necessary. This may involve taking X-rays to assess the extent of the damage and infection. Once the need for a root canal is established, the next step is administering local anesthesia to ensure the procedure is as pain-free as possible.

After the area is numb, our dentists will proceed with removing the infected or damaged pulp from inside the tooth. This involves creating an opening in the top of the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals. The cleaning and shaping of the internal space follow, ensuring all traces of infection and debris are removed. This step is essential for preventing further infection and preparing the tooth for the filling material.

Once cleaned, the tooth is filled with a biocompatible material, usually gutta-percha, and sealed to prevent bacteria from entering in the future. In many cases, we may place a temporary filling on top of the tooth until a more permanent restoration, like a dental crown, can be applied.

It’s not uncommon to experience some mild sensitivity or discomfort in the days following the procedure, but this is typically manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers. Proper aftercare, including maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding certain foods temporarily, can help ensure a smooth recovery. Follow-up visits with our dentists are also important when it comes to monitoring healing and ensuring we’ve done what’s necessary to fully rehabilitate the tooth.

Get Help Fast

We encourage you to reach out to our emergency dentists in Ann Arbor, MI, if you feel something is wrong with your tooth and a root canal may be the solution. Call Excel Dental today at (734) 929-9999 or if less urgent, request an appointment online.