When the pulp at the center of the tooth is infected or inflamed, it needs to be removed as soon as possible via root canal therapy. Otherwise, the tooth could be lost, and the damage could spread throughout the patient’s mouth. But how will you know when it’s time to refer them to an endodontist in Tacoma? You’ll need to perform a thorough examination and consider all of your patient’s symptoms before you make that decision. In this post, you can learn more about 5 warning signs of an infection that might require a root canal.
1. Persistent Pain
This is probably the most obvious and well-known warning sign for tooth infection. “Persistent” pain can mean different things; the tooth might hurt all the time, or it might have recurring discomfort that periodically goes away but always comes back. The patient might experience pain in the tooth itself, but it could also extend to their face, jaw, or even other teeth. Naturally, there’s more than one possible cause of tooth pain, so it’s essential to check the pulp as closely as possible.
2. Sensitivity to Heat and Cold
The pulp contains the tooth’s blood vessels or nerves. When they’re damaged, the tooth may become sensitive to particularly warm or cold foods and beverages. The patient might experience a dull ache or a sharp pain whenever they drink hot chocolate or a cold soda. Oftentimes, the pain will last long after the object that touched the tooth is gone.
As the tissue inside the tooth breaks down, the enamel gradually takes on a grayish-black appearance. Such discoloration is extremely easy to notice if it occurs in anterior teeth, but posterior teeth will need to be examined somewhat more closely.
4. Swollen Gums
As bacteria destroy the pulp, they produce acidic waste that reaches beyond the tips of the roots. This can lead to swelling in nearby gum tissue. Said swelling is not always painful, but that does not make it any less serious. In some cases, a pimple called an abscess will form on the gums. Abscesses are filled with pus that might occasionally ooze, leading to an unpleasant taste in the patient’s mouth or bad breath.
5. Tooth Mobility
Adult teeth should never feel loose. If a tooth is even slightly mobile, it might mean that a tooth infection is softening the bone tissue around the tooth. Needless to say, if you notice this particular symptom, then swift action must be taken to preserve the tooth.
If any of the above symptoms are found in connection to a tooth infection, it’s essential that your patient receives the highest quality treatment. If you want them to receive a successful root canal, make sure you know an expert endodontist in Tacoma to refer them to.
About the Author
Dr. Tina Olsson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry. After many year of practicing general dental care, she decided to specialize in endodontics. Currently, she is a proud member of the American Association of Endodontists. If you’d like to learn more about the services she can provide at South Sound Endodontics and how she works with dentists in the Tacoma area, visit her website or call (253) 752-5511.