Diagnosing the Need for a Root Canal

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Post on 07-Aug-2015



Health & Medicine

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  1. 1. By Dr. Jamie Ring
  2. 2. A trained dentist and endodontist, Dr. Jamie Ring currently practices as founding owner of Foothills Endodontic Specialists in Westminster, Colorado. In this role, Dr. Jamie Ring draws on extensive experience performing root canal treatments. Although many patients in need of a root canal experience pain, others present with a decayed tooth that has caused no discomfort. These patients may have developed a temperature sensitivity, swelling of the gums, or tooth discoloration. Other patients may not have noticed any symptoms at all. For these patients, an x-ray often determines that the tooth has deep decay.
  3. 3. For example, a dark spot at the tip of the tooth indicates that an infection has affected the bone, while a similar discoloration within the tooth shows that decay is encroaching on or inside the pulp. Dentists may also notice lesions on the gum near the root, where decay causes the discharge of pus. Patients with low-level infections may find that they do not notice these lesions, but during a check-up their dentist will be able to identify the problem. In some cases, a dentist may also notice that required work results in the exposure of the tooth's nerve. When the root becomes visible, it means that dental work has reached the pulp and thus places the tooth at risk for tissue decay. At this point, the patient typically needs root canal treatment before the situation worsens and leads to more serious damage.