No other aspect of your well-being goes as unattended as your oral health. That’s why emergency root canal treatments are more popular than they should.
For most people, dental medicine is a complement for overall wellness until it is needed. Root canal procedure is an illustrative example of it because it’s the most common dental emergency in dentists’ offices.
Why is a root canal necessary? Understanding the root of the pain
Endodontic treatment – as it’s technically known -, is one of the most frequent procedures that dental specialists practice, yes. But why it remains one of the most relevant processes involved in dental health? Let’s see.
Teeth are literally chewing machines, and also pieces of art with each part perfectly designed. From the outside, they have the white enamel, then a hardened natural filling known as dentine and then, the pulp.
The tooth body has two legs that extend toward the gum and anchor you. On the inner part, the pulp contains soft tissue that includes blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves. When something goes through the enamel, the dentine, and reaches the pulp, you feel pain.
Whenever you hit yourself, the nerves send that information to your brain, which sends it back to your body as the sensation of pain. The same happens when you hurt your mouth.
The relevancy of root canal procedures – and the reason why emergency root canal is so popular – comes in when the nerves under the protective layers of enamel and dentine are pushed against the hard tissues.
When that happens, there’s no direct hit, but the pain is described by patients as unbearable. This intensity derives from how close it is to the nervous terminations. Plus, it increases considerably fast and is definitely not a situation that can be managed without treatment.
The pushing can happen for many reasons, and the effect is always the same. For example, you might have a dormant infectious process going on and hurt the gums by brushing their teeth or eating some chips. Without you even noticing it, that place where they injured yourself – even if it does not bleed -, starts an inflammation process.
Although that inflammation is not visible, it is there. And it is disrupting the blood flow to the tooth, which goes through the pulp. Now, the dormant infection has a place to manifest itself: the pulp chamber. By that point, the nerves are under unavoidable risk. The worst part is that you cannot know what is happening until it is late.
The pain can begin at any moment, as it is caused by the exhaustion of the nerve; when it cannot take more pressure, it starts aching enough to know that something is wrong. And as you mentioned, it will escalate quickly.
What is a root canal procedure?
The first step would be to inform the patient about the importance of the procedure. Then, the dentist would detect the affected tooth. There are two scenarios for that, depending on how advanced the illness is.
If the infection limits itself to the pulp chamber, a gentle approach to the tooth gives a clear picture of how the inflammation. That means you went to the specialist at first sight of pain.
In this case, the dentist applies anesthesia before drilling the hole that allows gentle but profound cleaning. Once the specialist wipes out the infection, the next step is filling it with medical material and then sealing it.
After this procedure, your general oral health will improve noticeably. And it increases the chances of ending any infectious process going on anywhere else in the mouth.
The Emergency Root Canal: consequences of not paying attention to the pain.
When, instead of seeking medical attention at the first sense of discomfort, patients avoid the dentist, the case might be complicated. In the worst cases, you might even feel how the tooth splinters and leaves the nerve vulnerable.
The tooth begins to rot from the inside, causing increasing pain every time you eat and compromising the neighboring teeth. That’s when you will an emergency root canal treatment.
Signs that you should get an emergency root canal.
- Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold.
- Swollen or tender gums.
- Deep decay or darkening of the gums.
- Severe pain while chewing or biting.
- Pimples on the gums.
- A chipped or cracked tooth.
In these cases, although it is far from the ideal case, an extraction might not be necessary. Perhaps the cleaning process might take more time, and the cost of the procedure can increase, but there is a big chance that your smile keeps the same, if not better.
The relief sensation is not instantaneous. First, the anesthesia effect must go off, which can take from two to three hours. And then, you must follow the professional recommendations. They include anti-inflammatory and a diet that helps the filling to dry in the best way possible.
In the end, no patient will ever need an emergency root canal if they keep regular oral monitoring and hygiene. So, as dentists and oral health supporters, we recommend you always brush your teeth, floss, and mouthwash.