When Should You Consider Root Canal Therapy for Tooth Infections?

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Whenever possible, it is usually preferable to use the most conservative dental therapy available that still offers an effective and lasting solution for restoring the health of a tooth and avoiding the loss or extraction of a natural tooth. Still, there are some scenarios where a more extensive treatment may be necessary. For example, certain levels of damage, decay, and dental infection may require root canal therapy to repair the tooth, relieve the patient's uncomfortable symptoms, and prevent a worsening condition that may ultimately lead to tooth extraction. At Drs. Hamlett and La Mastra in Dallas, TX, Dr. Salvator La Mastra and our dedicated team of dental specialists offer a complete range of restorative dentistry services to address mild, moderate, and severe dental complications. Take a closer look at what to know about root canal therapy here, including when it may be necessary to perform a root canal on an infected tooth and why.

What are the reasons for a root canal?

Root canal treatment is typically performed when more conservative therapies, like fillings or bonding, are not considered effective or appropriate for addressing the level of damage or decay a tooth has sustained. Generally speaking, root canal therapy involves removing the damaged pulp — or inner material — of the tooth that may have become damaged or infected due to a crack, trauma, cavity, compromise of an old filling, or another event.

How do I know if I have an infected tooth?

If you suspect that your tooth may be infected, it is important to call your dentist as soon as possible. Early intervention may prevent the progression of an infection and help you avoid more extensive treatments. Some of the warning signs and symptoms of a tooth infection include:

  • Dental pain
  • Pain in the gums
  • Pain in the jaw, face, neck, or around the ear
  • Tooth sensitivity, particularly to hot, cold, and sugary foods and drinks
  • Redness, bleeding, or swelling around the tooth and gums
  • Fever
  • Foul taste and/or odor
  • Pus, discharge, swelling, or soreness around the tooth/gums

Does an infected tooth always need a root canal?

The only way to determine with certainty whether your tooth requires root canal therapy is to be evaluated by a knowledgeable and experienced dental provider. If you suspect a dental infection requiring a root canal, Dr. La Mastra will perform a thorough examination, which may include dental imaging studies and other diagnostic steps. Dr. La Mastra understands patients' desires to avoid a root canal when possible and will discuss your available options at length. In many cases, however, a dental infection or dental abscess compromises the pulp of the tooth significantly enough that a root canal is necessary to clear the infection, prevent the spread of infection, and preserve the natural tooth – restoring oral health and providing the rapid and lasting symptom relief you deserve.

Suspect that you may need a root canal in Dallas, TX? Our caring team is here to help!

A dental infection or tooth abscess can be painful, disruptive, and even lead to the loss of your natural tooth when not treated promptly. If you are experiencing the symptoms of an infected tooth, call Drs. Hamlett and La Mastra in Dallas, TX today to learn more about your options for dental infection pain relief, root canal therapy, and more.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.