COVID-19 has dramatically changed our everyday lives. In addition to learning how to navigate social distancing and stay-at-home orders, many people aren’t sure how to handle health-related issues that arise, including dental problems. If you have a toothache or suspect that you might need a root canal in Bloomington, you’re probably wondering if you should call an emergency dentist or if it can wait. Keep reading below to learn about signs that you need a root canal along with how you should handle the situation during COVID-19.
What Are the Signs That You Need a Root Canal?
Here are the most common signs and symptoms that can indicate the need for a root canal:
- Swelling in the face or gums (both are signs of infection)
- Lingering pain from hot, cold or chewing pressure that lasts more than 5-10 seconds
- Persistent pain when chewing
- Dark discoloration in a tooth (this can indicate that the nerve has “died” and become infected)
What Should You Do If You Need a Root Canal During COVID-19?
It can be hard to know if the symptoms above are a true dental emergency or not. However, keep in mind that they’re all signs that the nerve of a tooth is inflamed or infected, which usually leads to severe pain. In addition, if a dental infection isn’t treated (with either a root canal or extraction), it can spread to critical areas of the body such as the brain and become dangerous or even life-threatening.
That’s why the first thing you should do if you think you need a root canal is call an emergency dentist in Bloomington. They’ll determine the cause of your symptoms and evaluate whether a root canal is necessary. If so, try not to worry – they’re much easier than you would expect! The procedure will also relieve your pain and save a badly damaged tooth from needing to be extracted.
What Can You Expect From the Root Canal Procedure?
The first step is numbing your tooth and making sure you’re comfortable. From there, here are the basic steps of a root canal:
- Your dentist will make a very small opening in your tooth to access the inner pulp and remove any infected tissue.
- Then the canals that run through the roots of your tooth will be cleaned out and filled with a rubbery material called gutta percha.
- The last step is using tooth-colored cement to seal over the opening in the tooth.
It’s also important to be aware that a root canal removes a tooth’s blood supply, which will make it weaker than usual. To restore the tooth’s strength, dentists usually recommend getting a dental crown not long after the procedure.
Needing a root canal during COVID-19 can feel stressful, but rest assured that dentists take every precaution to keep you safe. After the procedure, you’ll not only be pain-free but also have much better oral health!
About the Author
Dr. Martin Barco III is a general and emergency dentist in Bloomington who completed his general practice residency at Indiana University. He’s open for emergency dental care, including root canals, during COVID-19 and is also available to advise people over the phone. If you think you may need a root canal or have any questions, he can be contacted via his website.