Do I Need a Root Canal

Do I Need a Root CanalTaos, NM

At Northern New Mexico Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, patients ask, "my tooth hurts, do I need a root canal?" Toothaches can be terribly inconvenient. They make it difficult to eat, speak, or even function. As a family dentist in Taos, NM, we realize that a common toothache is something most people can live with until it suddenly turns a corner and becomes unbearable. The key is to visit our dental office at that initial stage before you reach the point of severe discomfort. This will give you the largest amount of options for how to treat the problem. To schedule an appointment with our family dental office, call (575) 993-5911.

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If you are wondering, "my tooth hurts, do I need a root canal?" the answer is – not necessarily. We know that your tooth could hurt for several reasons, including:

  • Food is stuck in between your teeth or in between the ridges on the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
  • You could have a cavity.
  • Your tooth could have been chipped or cracked.
  • You may be suffering from enamel erosion.

In these scenarios, we can treat the problem without needing to perform a root canal. For example, we can clean your teeth and remove any food particles causing discomfort. If you have a cavity, we can remove the decay and place a filling at our family dentist office. This is done quickly and is far less invasive than a root canal. Simultaneously, if your tooth is chipped or cracked, we can restore it using dental bonding or dental veneers. If you are dealing with erosion, you may need dental crowns to protect your teeth. We also restore teeth on a daily basis and have several ways of doing so.

Other Factors You Need to Consider

However, there are many times where a root canal is the right treatment option, so to answer the question, "my tooth hurts, do I need a root canal?" we must also look at the surrounding circumstances.

How long has your tooth been hurting?

When you visit our dental office in Taos, NM, we need to know how long you have been dealing with this issue and whether the pain came on suddenly or if it has built up over time. This will help us in determining what the source of the discomfort is and what our treatment plan needs to be.

What level of pain are you in?

At Northern New Mexico Center for Cosmetic Dentistry we regularly ask patients about their pain and whether or not it is manageable. If it is only slight discomfort, you may be able to visit our Taos dentist practice and have tooth decay removed. In many cases, a toothache is caused by a cavity that can be treated without the need for a root canal. However, we find that intense pain can often be due to an infection severe enough to warrant a root canal.

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When to Call Our Emergency Dentist Office

If you have any of these symptoms, you should call our emergency dentist office at 575-993-5911 and schedule an appointment to be seen right away.

  • Your face is swollen. In this scenario, you could have a severe infection and require an immediate root canal. As a Taos dentist near you, we can quickly examine and treat you.
  • You are having difficulty swallowing. In this case, you need to be treated by our emergency dentist office immediately. Do not delay or take any chances with this particular symptom. It is possible to develop a dental abscess, an infection that can spread from your root canal to the floor of your mouth and even into your neck. This requires urgent care.
  • You cannot bite down without pain. In this case, your tooth could be infected and require a standard root canal. If so, we can perform the procedure quickly.
  • Your tooth is changing color. Another sign of an infection is if the tooth begins to change color. In this case, it may appear gray or dull, and performing a root canal could be necessary for restoring the health of your tooth.

The Process of Performing a Root Canal

When patients call us asking, "my tooth hurts, do I need a root canal?" the second question they normally ask is what the process will be like. At Northern New Mexico Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we will answer any questions you may have during your examination and consultation. We can complete a root canal in a way that is as comfortable as possible. The reality is that a root canal does not have to hurt. In fact, by using sedation, we can help you feel calm and relaxed to the point that most of our patients say they feel much better after the treatment than they did before the treatment. The root canal removes the infection, which is the cause of the initial discomfort, to relieve the pain. When looking for a "dentist near me" to perform a root canal, be sure to visit one who offers sedation.

When performing a root canal in our family dentist office, we do the following:

  • Clean the tooth
  • Numb the area
  • Create a small hole in the tooth
  • Remove the infected portion
  • Clean the interior of the tooth
  • Seal it with a rubbery substance
  • Restore the tooth using a filling or crown

We can treat your damaged or infected tooth, along with improving the appearance of your smile. We do so by offering additional solutions like teeth whitening, dental veneers, dental implants, dental crowns, and bridges. To schedule a tooth examination or to learn more about a root canal, call (575) 993-5911.

Definition of Endodontic Terminology
Cementum
Cementum is that bone-like tissue that forms the outer surface on the root of the tooth.
Dental Pulp
Dental pulp is the inner-most layer of the tooth with connective tissue that contains blood vessels and nerve tissue.
Dentin
Dentin is the inner layer of the tooth structure that is immediately under the enamel and surrounds the dental pulp.
Direct Pulp Cap
A direct pulp cap is a procedure in which a professional treats exposed pulp with a therapeutic material to help the tooth heal.
Enamel
The enamel is the hard calcified layer that covers the entire tooth and is subject to interaction with multiple substances.
Endodontist
An endodontist is a specialist who focuses on treating issues, diseases and conditions that affect the inner-most layer of the tooth, the dental pulp.
Pulpectomy
A pulpectomy is a procedure that involves the complete removal of pulp tissue from the root canal in a tooth.
Pulpitis
Pulpitis is another term to describe the inflammation of the dental pulp due to an injury or infection.
Pulpotomy
A pulpotomy is a procedure involving the removal of a portion of diseased or infected pulp in order to protect the healthy portions of the pulp and teeth still in the mouth.

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