Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

If you watch television or movies, you may think that a root canal is the worst procedure you can have when going to the dentist.

Hollywood portrays root canal therapy as an incredibly painful procedure. However, a root canal is no worse than any other dental procedure. In fact, a root canal should help eliminate pain rather than cause it. 

When you need a root canal, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic to your gums. This will completely numb the area before your dentist does any drilling.

Using an anesthetic ensures that you will not feel any pain during the procedure. Therefore, root canal therapy is not a terrible, unbearable process. 

Image of young woman sitting in dental chair with hands on her face in fear. Dental professional standing behind her with tools. root canal therapy dentist in Palmdale California

What Is a Root Canal?

Your enamel is the whitish outer layer of your teeth. It protects your teeth from bacteria or anything that may hurt the delicate inner portion of your teeth, including the nerves.

However, bacteria, erosion, and trauma can damage the enamel. This allows bacteria to move into the tooth, causing an infection. When bacteria causes a small pit in the enamel, dentists call this a cavity or dental caries. 

Typically, your dentist can fix a cavity with a dental filling after they remove the decayed area. Receiving a dental filling is an easy, painless procedure. If you catch a cavity early, you shouldn’t have many complications.

However, it is possible to miss a cavity or wait too late to seek treatment. Sometimes, patients who have dental anxiety avoid going to the dentist even if they are in pain. This is unfortunate for their dental health. Without treatment, a cavity can turn into a major infection. 

To remove the infection and save the tooth, your dentist will perform root canal therapy. Without a root canal, your dentist may need to pull or extract the tooth. A root canal removes the infection to save your tooth.

Once they remove the infection, your dentist will use a dental sealant to protect your tooth and avoid further infection. 

When Do You Need a Root Canal?

One of the biggest reasons that you may need a root canal is if you have pain that won’t go away. While pain can indicate many dental conditions, deep pain that remains for a long time may need immediate treatment. 

You can experience sensitivity for a number of reasons, including recent teeth whitening treatments. However, you should contact your dentist if you have sensitivity to temperatures that do not go away. 

When you have an infection, you also have inflammation. If you experience swelling or inflammation in your jaws or gums, you should seek treatment. Swelling can be inflammation, but it can also be pus that hasn’t drained from the infected area. 

In addition, an infection can create a pimple on your gums near the infected tooth. This is because it causes pus, which can collect into a pimple or boil. If the pimple bursts, you will taste a sour or very unpleasant taste.