Like many patients, when you feel the first twinges of a toothache, you may panic, wondering, “Do I need a root canal?” Root canal therapy has a notorious, though unwarranted reputation, for being quite unpleasant. In reality, the treatment will eliminate the often severe discomfort of your infected tooth. Nevertheless, although a root canal at our San Diego practice can be a highly effective way to preserve your smile and dental function, Dr. Georgaklis will never recommend the treatment if it is not necessary. He will carefully analyze your symptoms and use advanced imaging to determine if root canal therapy is right for you.
When Are Root Canals Necessary?
If dental decay spreads far enough, it will affect the soft pulp inside your tooth. From there, it can spread down to your dental roots. It can even cause a pus-filled sac, called an abscess, to form in your gums at the tip of your root. If you have an infected tooth, a root canal may be the only way to ease your discomfort. By cleaning your tooth and placing a custom-made dental crown, Dr. Georgaklis can save the remainder of your tooth and prevent the need for extraction.
Because a root canal can dry out your tooth, making it more susceptible to fracture, Dr. Georgaklis will use holistic ozone therapy to reduce your need for treatment. If you have a slightly exposed dental nerve, ozone gas, produced by his in-office generator, will reduce nerve inflammation and sterilize your tooth.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, a root canal may be the optimal treatment for you:
- Toothache: Pain is the most common symptom of an infected tooth. Frequently, this pain is associated with exposure to heat and cold, though the irritation will persist even after the temperature source is removed. In the more advanced stages of infection, you may experience random sensations of pain. A chronic toothache can progress to a constant, dull headache.
- Gum abscesses: As stated above, an abscess appears when bacteria has spread to the tip of your dental root. At first, this will look like a small, pimple-like bump. It may leak fluid or cause chronic bad breath. If left untreated, the abscess will grow. Eventually, it can cause bone infection, facial swelling, and extreme discomfort.
- A single darkened tooth: If only one of your teeth is affected by internal staining and discoloration, it may indicate damage to your dental pulp or nerve. In some cases, you could have sustained this damage years in the past. A root canal may be the only way to remove the damaged pulp and restore the color of your smile.
At Your Consultation
For a conclusive diagnosis, Dr. Georgaklis will conduct a full exam and consultation. First you will discuss your symptoms and whether they indicate the need for a root canal. Dr. Georgaklis will also carefully examine your tooth, including the roots and inner pulp. He may lightly tap on the top of your tooth. If this hurts, you may need a root canal. Similarly, he may use thermal testing to find out if your tooth is sensitive to heat and cold. Finally, x-rays can provide detailed images of your tooth and the surrounding jawbone. They can reveal the progression of bacteria, and they can show if bacteria has spread to your nearby teeth or bone. Once he has a full understanding of your condition and the extent of your infection, Dr. Georgaklis will recommend a root canal or ozone therapy.
Schedule Your Root Canal Consultation
If you are suffering from a toothache or another symptom of an infected tooth, it’s time to get the relief you deserve. Contact our office today to learn more about La Jolla root canal therapy and find out if you are a candidate for this treatment.