Do you have a toothache, but are a little unsettled at the thought of needing root canal therapy? We can get your questions answered and put you at ease. These are some of the questions we’ve gotten from our patients: What is a root canal? Can I avoid getting a root canal? What are the symptoms? And … will it hurt?

If I need a root canal, what symptoms will I be experiencing:

Sometimes, a person may ignore the symptoms for a while. It takes some time for this type of infection advance from a cavity and needing root canal therapy can be avoided; that’s why it’s important to have your oral hygiene routine in place and schedule regular dental appointments.

In other cases, a person may show no symptoms.

These symptoms suggest root canal therapy may be needed:

  • Your tooth hurts longer than it should after exposure to hot or cold temperatures
  • Severe toothache pain from chewing or putting pressure on the area
  • Drainage, tenderness and swelling surrounding the tooth, in the nearby bone, gum tissues or lymph nodes
  • Your tooth may start to hurt in the middle of the night; you wake up with severe tooth pain
  • A “rotten” taste in your mouth
  • Discoloration or darkening of the tooth

Another symptom is a dental abscess:

  • An abscess is a small, pimple-like bump on the gums near the area of the tooth pain
  • It can cause significant swelling in the jaw, cheek, or throat
  • Bleeding or swelling may occur around the tooth if you have an abscess
  • If this type of swelling is noticed, treatment needs are urgent, and we urge you to contact Premier Dental in Lee’s Summit, MO for a same-day dental emergency appointment.


Do all toothaches require a root canal treatment?

Sometimes you may feel intense tooth pain that makes you think you need root canal treatment, but the pain is a symptom of another problem requiring a completely different treatment. Such as:

  • Exposed root surfaces as a result of gum recession can mimic cold sensitivity.
  • Sinus congestion can produce pressure around the roots of the upper teeth and cause pain upon chewing, which imitates root canal pain.
  • Gum disease can also mimic the throbbing pain around teeth that can feel like root canal pain.
  • Jaw pain can either be an indication of pain in the jaw joint or pain referred from a tooth needing a root canal.


 IMPORTANT: if you’re experiencing tooth pain, call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Caye immediately!!


What causes the need for root canal therapy?

The simple answer is: DECAY.

Here are the two main causes:

  1. Decay:The main reason patients need to have root canal therapy is simply, Decay (commonly referred to as a cavity). If a cavity becomes large enough because it goes untreated, the decay can enter your pulp chamber or nerve. If bacteria enter this chamber, it causes severe pain, and will quickly cause an infection. As a result, a root canal is needed to save your tooth and reduce pain.
  1. Trauma:If your tooth cracks or breaks, there’s a chance you’ll need a root canal treatment, because trauma to your tooth can expose your pulp chamber, damage your nerve and cause severe pain. Again, the nerve will need to be removed to salvage your tooth.


What is a Root Canal?

The term “root canal” can be used to refer to two different things:

  • the dental procedure used to remove infected material and relieve root canal pain
  • the inner part (passages) of the tooth between the pulp and tooth roots, containing nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue

Today we’re going to talk about the dental procedure.

It’s straight forward … a root canal treatment is an attempt to save your tooth after your nerve has been exposed to bacteria from a crack or has become permanently aggravated. And it will get you out of pain!

A root canal treatment is required when a tooth is badly decayed or seriously infected. To protect the tooth, the nerve and its surrounding tooth pulp are removed, and the tooth is permanently sealed. A dental crown is then placed on top of the affected tooth to make sure it maintains its proper function — chewing.

What do these terms mean?

  • Dental Pulp: is the soft substance in the center of the tooth that consists of the nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissue.
  • Pulp Chamber: is the hollow part in the center of the tooth that contains the pulp and continues down canals that extend through the roots of teeth and into the bone around the tooth.


Can I avoid needing root canal therapy?

Here are some common causes and how to avoid needing root canal therapy:

Failure to Brush or Floss Regularly

Prevention is key! Brushing your teeth (twice a day) is the most important thing you can do each day to avoid tooth decay is brushing your teeth. Cavities and root canals are prevented the same way … by brushing your teeth consistently. Brushing will interrupt the growth of bacteria that turns into plaque.

Flossing is essential too, because it helps clean hard-to-reach areas in between your teeth and remove any food particles left behind.

Forgetting to Visit the Dentist

Millions of people face some anxiety about going to the dentist. At Premier Dental in Lee’s Summit, MO., we make it easy for you. A compassionate, experienced dental team can help detect early warning signs of infection, decay, and other issues you might not notice on your own. By putting off a simple trip to the dentist, you could be setting yourself up for lots of problems in the future … treating a cavity early, before it leads to decay, is one of the easiest ways to avoid needing a root canal treatment.

Related Article: I’m Busy! Do I really need to schedule a Dental Appointment?

Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, also referred to as “gum disease” is a long-term infection process that attacks the soft tissue that supports, binds, and provides blood flow to your teeth. If you have symptoms like discoloration or bleeding in your gums, it could mean gum disease, which can spread throughout your mouth and needs immediate attention.

Related Article: How to Avoid Gum Disease: What You Need to Know!


Will I need a dental crown after having a root canal treatment?

The short answer is: Yes. You will need a dental crown after your root canal treatment. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that will be placed over a root canal-treated tooth at a second appointment (usually a week later). It is designed protect the remaining tooth structure and continue the function of the molar teeth, which is chewing food. This will also guard against any future tooth pain.

Related Article: Fact OR Fiction: You Can Get a CEREC Same Day Crown


Will a root canal treatment be painful?

Root canal treatments have gotten a lot of bad press as a painful dental procedure. The truth of the matter is, it can actually be less painful than having a cavity filled. The pain you experience is typically the symptom of the infection. Once it’s removed, your pain is gone.

Be sure to follow a regular oral hygiene routine after your root canal treatment to maintain your crown and avoid future issues. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth, If you notice increased tooth sensitivity after a root canal.

Related Article: Pain After Root Canal Procedure: Will the pain disappear?


On a lighter note… here are some interesting facts about root canal therapy:

  • Some roots have more than one root canal, but all have at least one canal
  • A root canal performed on any tooth (front or back) with a nerve
  • Nearly 15 million root canals are performed each year in the United States
  • Since the roots aren’t necessary for the tooth to function, they can be removed
  • There is only one main purpose for the tooth’s nerve: to provide the feeling or sensation of cold and hot
  • Most teeth are fixed with root canal therapy with a 95 percent success rate
  • A root canal is a standard and very common procedure
  • Most teeth fixed with root canal therapy can last a lifetime


Are you are suffering from a toothache? Premier Dental can help!

As they say, “fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all”.

No need to fear a toothache or root canal therapy if you live in the Lee’s Summit, MO area. Dr. Caye and his team of professionals will keep you comfortable as they get you out of pain quickly.

Dr. Stephan Caye and his friendly, experienced team at Premier Dental offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the Lee’s Summit, MO area. Our office is conveniently located off of Highway 50 and SE Blue Parkway. We offer appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At Premier Dental, we provide most dental health services, from family and general dentistry to specialty procedures, including dental implants, dentures, endodontic or root canal therapy, teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry, emergency dental care and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Please call us at (816) 600-6330 to schedule an appointment.