Well over 14 million root canals are performed every year in the United States. This treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental bridges in the future. Patients rely on tooth pain to alert them to a problem, but pain can be misleading. Diagnosis of a root canal problem requires an analysis of tooth pain patterns. Tooth sensitivity to temperature can be a sign that the nerve in the tooth is functioning normally. Conversely, the nerve in a tooth can die and abscess without producing any pain. For this reason, we will test your tooth thoroughly to determine the reason for what you are feeling or what we are seeing on an x-ray. Sometimes a tooth is damaged beyond treatment and a root canal will not be beneficial. Other times treatment is not required and we are just as happy to tell the patient they do not need a root canal.
There are pain patterns that can predict rapid abscess and swelling. Sensitivity to hot which is relieved by cold, is a significant emergency and should be treated within 48 hours to avoid rapid abscess formation. If this condition is intercepted in a timely manner, significant complications can be avoided.