Have you experienced waking up in the wee hours of the night feeling a sudden intense pain in your tooth? It may have been from a neglected toothache you felt a few days ago, leading you to be a candidate for an emergency root canal treatment. In instances like these, your emergency dentist has the capacity to assess and pinpoint what happened and what caused it. Coopers Plains Dental clinic near Greenslopes, for example, handles emergency dental consultations so issues like sudden toothache would not be a hassle anymore. So let us see what an emergency root canal is, how do you know if you need one, and how root canal treatment works.
Emergency root canal: Basics of a tooth
Our 32 adult teeth have the same layers with different thickness depending on their type and function. The outermost and the hardest layer of the tooth is called the enamel. This is the shiny coat of the tooth that gets damaged first once cavities attack. Next to it is the dentin which has millions upon millions of minute tubes that can serve as entryways for germs to reach the innermost layer of the tooth and fully damage them. That innermost layer is called the pulp, and it houses the nerves and the blood vessels that nourish the tooth. If this part gets invaded by cavities or bacteria, that is when you will feel the pain and sensitivity.
What is an emergency root canal?
Root canal treatment, otherwise known as endodontic treatment, is a specialized dental treatment that focuses on treating the pulp, or the innermost layer of the tooth. The procedure entails the dentist or endodontist to remove all the pulp contents, including the infected nerves, blood vessels and other dental tissue in order to save the crown or the physical tooth itself. After removing the innermost contents of your tooth, the dentist will seal the space with dental fillings to that the bacteria will not be able to invade this part again. If the whole procedure is required to be performed as soon as possible because of a sudden jolt of pain, this is what constitutes as an emergency root canal.
How do I know if I need an emergency root canal?
There are many instances that can lead to your tooth decaying or getting damaged. Here are some symptoms or reasons that can be alleviated by an emergency root canal.
Toothache. A toothache can mean a lot of things, and the intensity of the pain does not necessarily parallel the damage. This means that even the mildest pain may mean complex or severe damage, that is why having a toothache is already considered by emergency dentists as a dental emergency. With the case of a damaged pulp as the cause of the toothache, it can starts as sensitivity to extreme temperatures that can develop a headache. Some patients may mistake this as a gum disease because it also exhibits the same symptoms, but your dentist can pinpoint this as a problem with the pulp.
Abscess. A true sign of infection, having an abscessed part of the pulp means that the whole innermost layer is already damaged and infected, creating a pus-filled capsule inside. This condition can create a pimple-like bump on the gum near the infected tooth. Your dentist must perform the emergency root canal as soon as possible because there may be a huge possibility that the bacteria that invaded your pulp will reach the bloodstream and cause more complicated systemic infection.
Here are other reasons or symptoms that would alert you that you need emergency root canal treatment:
- Trauma (from an accident or sports-related injury)
- Tooth fracture
- Repeated dental procedures that damage and stress the pulp (drilling or aggressive orthodontic manipulation)