Is a Root Canal a Dental Emergency?

A root canal is a treatment used to save a tooth from extraction when the inside pulp of the tooth has become infected and damaged. If the decay has been left untreated, the inside pulp of the tooth can completely die. 

While you don’t need your tooth’s pulp to have a healthy tooth, you do need to have the decay removed and treat the infection. A root canal is not painful, but the symptoms of infection certainly are. During your first root canal appointment, we will be able to relieve this pain by removing the source of discomfort.

When is it Considered an Emergency?

A root canal itself is not considered a dental emergency. Things that are considered dental emergencies include severe toothache, infection, uncontrollable bleeding, a loose or knocked out tooth, or damage to your teeth or dental work.

So, if you are experiencing severe pain or signs of an infection such as an abscess, these warrant an emergency dental visit. Emergencies are when you are in serious pain, discomfort, or bleeding and you are not able to relieve the pain or treat the problem yourself.

Signs You Could Need a Root Canal

One of the biggest signs of pulp decay or infection is persistent pain in the tooth that does not go away or repeatedly comes back for more than 2 days. You may also experience tooth sensitivity, especially when eating extremely hot or cold foods and this sensitivity may linger for a long time after you have eaten.

Other symptoms that indicate you need a root canal include:

  • A discolored tooth that is dark or gray
  • Discolored gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Pain when eating or applying pressure to the tooth
  • A chip, crack, or hole in the tooth
  • Facial swelling
  • An abscess around the gum of the affected tooth
  • Exposed nerves

What to Expect at Your Emergency Dental Appointment

When you arrive at Water Valley Dental for an emergency root canal, Dr. Daniel Banks will take x-rays of your tooth to check for infection. Then, we will begin the root canal procedure by first administering a local anesthetic to the area which will numb your mouth.

A rubber sheet will be placed around your tooth to keep it dry and free of bacteria. Then, a dental drill will be used to make an access hole into the tooth. You won’t feel any pain because you will be numbed. 

The decay inside of the tooth will be scraped out completely which will relieve your pain. Your canals will then be cleaned by flushing and sanitizing them. The inside of your tooth will then be filled with a material called gutta-percha. The access hole will be closed with a temporary filling.

At a separate appointment, you will receive a permanent filling or dental crown to protect your tooth from damage and re-infection. Dr. Banks will discuss aftercare for your tooth with you at your appointment.

Root Canal Treatment at Water Valley Dental

If you have any signs of an infected tooth or severe decay that is causing you severe pain, you should contact us at Water Valley Dental right away for a same-day emergency dental appointment.

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