Clapham dentist, Dr Jignesh Patel, discusses symptoms that may indicate root canal infection
Most of us are, perhaps, prone to self diagnosis when things don’t feel right with our teeth. The wealth of information, both factual and ‘fake news’ available on the internet probably encourages us to do this even more.
Even if we do try to self-diagnose though, it is still important to have any problems examined by one of the Confidental Clinic team, in order that any appropriate treatment can be given during the early stages of the problem.
One not uncommon dental problem which is often misunderstood by patients, is a root canal infection. We have discussed the treatment of this in other blogs so today, take a look instead at some of the potential signs that you might need to receive treatment for it. As noted earlier, please make sure to have any symptoms checked as sometimes the same symptom can have a different number of causes, and only an experienced dentist will be able to diagnose thoroughly.
Tooth pain, or toothache, can be caused by a number of issues, including both root canal infection and general tooth decay. Where a root canal infection is present, the pain is likely to be quite severe as this is the area that the nerves of the tooth are located. You may also find that the pain spreads to the gums as well. It will be particularly painful when you use that tooth to bite on anything or even when you touch the tooth with your finger.
Any type of tooth pain should trigger a prompt visit to our dental practice so we can examine and treat it correctly.
Swollen and sore gums
These particular symptoms are common in gum disease cases. It is not the only thing that can cause it though and especially if the swelling or soreness is at the base of one particular tooth, rather than on several teeth. This may indicate a more specific problem. Whilst this symptom, when gum disease is present, is likely to occur over a period of time, the same symptom caused by a root canal infection is likely to happen more quickly. Whichever it is though, make sure to have it checked.
This can also be caused by other problems, such as enamel erosion or a crack in the teeth. It can often occur when you eat or drink something that is hot or cold, or even when breathing in cold air over your teeth. A similar sensation may also be a sign that the canal of the tooth has become infected. This is often during the relatively early stages and before a severe toothache is present.
No tooth cavity should be ignored, even if it is causing you no problems at the moment. Cavities typically don’t heal themselves, and unless you have the tooth filled or treated in another manner, the cavity will only become larger. As with a cracked or chipped tooth, this allows bacteria easier access to the roots of the tooth, and infection is likely if left untreated.
Spots on the gum
Sometimes called canker sores, these can be caused by a number of issues, but, if you notice white dots on your gums around one individual tooth, there may be a problem with that particular tooth. Canker sores will generally go of their own accord if you have a generally healthy mouth, but the spots associated with root canal infections are likely to keep coming back. These spots can burst, leaving an unpleasant taste in your mouth as the bacteria in and around them multiply.
Teeth can chip in many ways. Sometimes, they require no treatment at all if it is very small and the enamel is not compromised. Where the damage to the enamel has exposed the dentin beneath it though, infections can reach the root canals of the teeth much more easily. If you suffer even the tiniest chip in a tooth, you should have this examined in order to reduce the risk of this happening.
A discoloured tooth
Tooth discolouration is common and can be caused both by what we eat and drink and also how old we are. This generally occurs with all of our teeth at a similar time though. If you have one particular tooth which has become darker, this could be caused by the tooth being infected internally, darkening its appearance.
A root canal treatment is nothing to be afraid of, despite what you may have heard. It is an essential procedure that can not only relieve any pain that you are in, but can also save the natural tooth. If you don’t have the treatment when it is recommended, you are both likely to suffer more pain in the future and also need to eventually have the tooth extracted.
Any and all dental problems, however big or small they may seem to you, should always be checked by one of our experienced Clapham dental team. You can make an appointment to see us by calling the Confidental Clinic on 020 7801 9060.