A root canal can be an emergency medical condition under certain circumstances. Although most people do not consider dental problems a matter of emergency, a root canal is one of those exceptional situations when you should seek emergency medical treatment.
There are many reasons for that. Perhaps the pain is so intense for you that you cannot live a normal life. Maybe the pain is an indication of other complexities that require urgent treatment. Can the problem spread to other parts of your body from your mouth? Absolutely.
Let us find out why you may need an emergency root canal treatment.
6 Reasons You Need an Emergency Root Canal Treatment
Your dental pain is too intense to bear
Dental pains are intense, but some are more intense than others.
Your root canal pain interferes with every moment of your life. You lose concentration on whatever you are doing. Your attention returns to your mouth, specifically to the spot of throbbing pain that you cannot control at all.
The pain does not disappear overnight. It doesn’t disappear in a day or two. It may subside a little bit when you sleep, but the next day it starts again.
You cannot touch the affected tooth – so sensitive it becomes. You cannot brush that tooth or the surrounding teeth properly because of the pain.
According to a paper published in the Journal of Endodontics, you will be relieved of 76% of your pain just the day after your root canal treatment, and after a week, you will feel no pain or no more than 5% of your pain.
That means root canal treatments work when relieving intense dental pain.
Good to Remember: Root canal treatment facilitates the long-term retention of teeth with pulpal or periradicular disease that would otherwise likely be extracted (Journal of Endodontics).
Your dental pain has traveled to other parts of your mouth
A root canal requiring dental condition may affect your entire jaw or even a quarter of your face. If a part of your face has swollen, that can indicate serious decay in your tooth and infection in your dental pulp.
Abscesses at the root of your tooth may have damaged the nerve tissues in the pulp chamber of your tooth. These tissues are interconnected to the nerve tissues of your face. Therefore, any discomfort in your teeth is bound to spread around.
The abscess can kill nerve tissues. In that case, your tooth will die, but the pain may still come from the gum tissues around the tooth.
A tooth abscess can also impact the blood flow to your teeth. According to the Korean Journal of Pain, any change in the blood flow to the tooth will affect the activities of the nerve cells inside your teeth.
Good to Remember: Dental pain is caused by stimulating dental pulp nerve fibers (Korean Journal of Pain).
The pain has affected your speech or speaking capacity
A swollen cheek may affect your speech. The speech may be affected even if you don’t have a swollen cheek or face.
You may not close or open your mouth properly, and when you speak, you cannot control the air inside your mouth as much as you need to talk normally.
Because your affected tooth is sensitive, or if it has moved out of its socket, you may have a malocclusion. Your upper teeth and lower teeth may not align at this time. This can affect your speech.
Your pain may bar you from moving your jaw as much as required to speak normally. This situation can be avoided by seeing a dentist for an urgent root canal.
Your root canal has failed
If your previous root canal fails, you may require an emergency one.
A root canal can fail for all sorts of reasons. Maybe you did not follow your dentist’s instructions during the post-root canal days. Perhaps your tooth has become infected again.
What about your body’s capacity to heal? If the treated tooth has not healed properly, the tooth can be infected again.
Likewise, as the European Journal of Dentistry writes, bacteria can evade disinfectants. They may lie in a canal that is not considered for treatment.
Can the dentist do a lousy job? Absolutely. If any part of the infected pulp is left behind in your tooth’s root, your tooth is sure to cause inflammation again. That is why you need to know how to find a qualified dentist to do an excellent job.
Your gums have become discolored
The gums around the affected tooth may be discolored due to infection. You may even see a swollen spot on the gums. This should indicate that the infection has traveled from the tooth’s canals to the soft gum tissues, and the situation can only worsen if you remain without treatment.
The gums may look red and puffy. They may bleed during brushing and flossing if you can do that despite mounting pains.
The infected gums may also release the pus, an indication to take the condition as a dental emergency. Your gums and the affected tooth require disinfection. They cannot heal without careful intervention.
Your tooth has become discolored
An affected tooth sometimes turns yellow. If that is the case with you, you may see a dentist to find out why. However, if the discoloration also involves mounting pain, you may conclude that there are more complexities than the eyes can meet. It is most likely that the concerned tooth’s pulp chamber is infected, and the nerve tissues there are dead.
Your tooth may have suffered a major trauma, but it can be saved.
The discoloration may involve a foul taste in your mouth and swollen gums. The tooth may also feel loose or slightly loose.
Such signs should be taken seriously, especially if your immunity has been compromised due to a preexisting medical condition. The infection may take weeks or months to spread to other teeth, but the longer you wait, the more complicated the condition might be.
Good to Remember: 2.3 billion people suffer from dental caries worldwide, and almost 24–50 million procedures are carried out annually in the US (Advanced Healthcare Materials).
An emergency root canal is a great option for a painful and infected tooth
Infected teeth and gums can destroy jaw bones in the long run. They can be a threat to your facial structure. A tooth with infected pulp may loosen and finally fall. In either case, the risk is very high and deserves attention.
You cannot treat the situation yourself. The presence of bacteria creates tartar, and the tartar may spread below the gum line, which you cannot reach. A professionally trained dentist can help you bring back your dental health.
- Journal of Endodontics
- Korean Journal of Pain
- European Journal of Dentistry
- Advanced Healthcare Materials