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Does your tooth hurt? It may need a root canal
Updated: 9/26/2013 5:30:08 PM

Though costly and timely, ignoring the symptoms that indicate a need for a root canal is not the best decision.

The words "root canal" may strike fear in dental patients, who know, usually from word of mouth, that the procedure is timely and typically costly. However, grinning and bearing this rather disreputable process may just be the best way to go.

Premier Smiles, a dentist practice in Charlotte, N.C., is warning patients to not ignore symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal.

"There are many reasons that you may need a root canal, including a cracked tooth, an exposed nerve ending, or a deep cavity," said Brian Pressley?, M.D., who heads Premier Smiles, which offers the procedure. "A root canal is typically performed to save an infected or decaying tooth. If your tooth is left untreated and your infection continues to grow, an abscess can form and cause bone loss in your jaw."

Is a root canal necessary?
If an individual has heightened sensitivity to hot or cold foods or liquids, this may indicate that he or she needs a root canal. Experiencing this kind of annoyance usually means that the tooth is still alive, but that the pulp, where the nerve and tissue are inside the tooth, is severely damaged. When a root canal is performed, the nerve is treated by removing the section of the pulp that is infected.

Another way to tell that a root canal is in order is if an abscess forms near the root of the tooth. Abscesses are accumulations of pus that form when the pulp of a tooth has died, due to untreated damage. These pockets, which are a hotbed for bacteria, look like pimples on the inside an individual's mouth and sometimes even burst. If abscesses are left untreated, they can continue to grow and eventually become infected. In very rare cases, people have died from complications beginning with such abscesses.

Where to go for a root canal
Dentists are qualified to perform root canals and do so often, but endodontists specialize in dealing with tooth pulp and the tissue in and surrounding teeth. According to Medicine Net, a dentist may refer a patient to this kind of dentist professional if the case is especially complex or if a previously treated root requires subsequent care. 

If a patient thinks he or she might need a root canal but is in financial need or has no dental insurance, an option like a discount dental plan is another route to go. These plans are an alternative to insurance, and they cover a variety of procedures to make dental care affordable.

© 2013 Brafton Inc.


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