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Do You Need a Root Canal?

If you are suffering from constant pain from a toothache, you may need a root canal. Our staff at Legacy Hill Dentistry understands that some patients are afraid of having to have a root canal, but we would like to tell you that the procedure is not as bad as it sounds. When one of our patients must have a root canal, we ensure the patient is comfortable and calm throughout the entire Do You Need a Root Canal- Legacy Hill Dentistry-Smyrna, TN-w800-h597procedure. After you have received a root canal, you can look forward to not having to endure the chronic toothache you once had. We would like to tell you more about root canals to help you learn more about this procedure.

What exactly is a root canal?

If you have a badly decayed or infected tooth, a root canal can repair and save that tooth. According to WebMD, the nerve and pulp are removed from the tooth during a root canal procedure. The inside of that tooth is then cleaned and sealed. To complete the root canal, a crown or a filling will be placed on the tooth, so it will not be obvious to others that you had this procedure.

Why would I need a root canal?

When the nerve and pulp of a tooth are damaged, bacteria can spread throughout the pulp chamber, which leads to a seriously infected, or abscessed, tooth. This infection can cause facial swelling, bone loss, and drainage problems. To keep from having to have the tooth pulled, a root canal will remove all of the infected tissue to promote a healthier mouth.

What are the signs that I need a root canal?

If you have severe toothache pains when chewing or applying pressure to the tooth, you most likely will need a root canal. Other signs to watch for include prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, a darkening of the tooth, swollen and tender gums, and a recurring pimple on your gums.

How successful are root canals?

With a more than 95% success rate, a root canal is a great option for saving a tooth. Most likely, you will not have to worry about that tooth again because the majority of root canals will last for a lifetime. You can trust the staff at Legacy Hill Dentistry to perform the best root canal procedure to successfully save your tooth and to free you from constant tooth pain.

If you have been struggling with a constant toothache, it is time for a visit to Legacy Hill Dentistry. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for a consultation to see if you need a root canal.

Ouch! My Tooth Hurts!

Understanding Tooth Sensitivity

When someone suffers from sensitive teeth, it can be difficult for them to enjoy nearly any food or drink. There are many different conditions that can lead to sensitive teeth but they all amount to more or less the same thing. People with these conditions experience pain in their teeth that can often become overwhelming. Understanding exactly what causes this sensitivity is the first step to remedying the situation and going back to enjoying normal food and drink. And as with most things related to your oral health…you can avoid many painful problems with preventative care.

Many things can wear down the enamel on your teeth and contribute to tooth sensitivity.

Many things can wear down the enamel on your teeth and contribute to tooth sensitivity.

In most cases, teeth become sensitive when the dentin, or the underlying portion of the tooth, becomes exposed. At the same time, the root and nerve in the center of the tooth will be exposed which can be extremely painful. When the upper layer of the tooth is not existent, almost anything can trigger tooth pain. It may be a food or beverage that is too hot or too cold that brings it on, or even something that has too much sugar in it.

Unfortunately, it can be a bit difficult to pinpoint the cause of tooth sensitivity since there are so many things that can bring it on. One common cause is over brushing, or applying so much pressure with the toothbrush that it wears off the enamel of the tooth. Tooth grinding, receding gums or gum disease and old age can also cause it. There are even some types of mouthwash that, after prolonged use, can wear away at the tooth and cause sensitivity.

There are a few simple oral hygiene habits that can help reduce the effects of tooth sensitivity. One simple way is to use a desensitizing toothpaste, not only during brushing but applied in a thin layer to the exposed under layer of the tooth. This can help to reduce some of the day-to-day discomfort associated with these conditions. It is also recommended to choose a toothpaste that has fluoride but not tartar control, which can wear away at the enamel of the tooth. A soft bristled brush will also minimize the impact of brushing on sensitive teeth.

Another way of reducing the effects of tooth sensitivity is to avoid acidic foods. This applies specifically to citrus fruits. If a food contains too much acid, it will quickly wear down the outer layer of the tooth, leaving the root and under layers exposed. In addition to avoiding acidic foods, people should be aware of whether or not they grind their teeth. If they do, a mouth guard worn during sleep can help to solve the problem.

If someone changes their eating and oral hygiene habits but still finds that they are experiencing tooth pain, it may be time to visit the dentist. In some cases, sensitivity of the teeth is the result of gum disease. If this is the case, the dentist may need to prescribe and antibiotic that will clear up any bacteria or infection that is leading to tooth pain. If medication does not sufficiently take care of the issue, surgery may be necessary, so it is important to see the dentist as soon as possible.

Tooth sensitivity may be a minor issue that is remedied by changing a few simple habits or it might be a more serious problem that requires surgery. Whatever is causing it, it is an issue that can make it difficult to enjoy everyday life, especially eating and drinking. If the problem is not fixed after making a few simple changes, it is necessary to visit the dentist and see if the pain is the result of a more serious, underlying issue.

Avoiding a Root Canal

What is a root canal and how do I avoid it?

The simple definition of root canal, the noun, is the pulp-filled cavity in the root of a tooth. It is the living portion of your tooth. However, when speaking to a dentist, a root canal, the verb, is a simple procedure to repair and save a tooth.


The conditions of why a dentist may need to perform a root canal is when the pulp or nerve tissue inside the tooth being to break down due to the presence of bacteria and other debris. This debris can cause and infection inside the tooth and cause quite painful abscesses that are pus-filled pockets that form and can spread through to gums, cheeks, and other areas of the head.

A headache can be an indicator you need to visit your dentist.

A headache can be an indicator you need to visit your dentist.

How the abscess starts is with a cavity that is not taken care of or filled. Cavities occur when food is stuck in the teeth, and bacteria begins to grow and eat away at the tooth. It can also occur due to a faulty crown, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. Once the inside of the tooth is exposed to the elements, bacteria can grown and the inside can become inflamed and infected.

Warning Signs

How can you tell if you might need a root canal or you are having root canal and tooth decay? Common symptoms might include, high sensitivity or high toothache pain when applying pressure, high sensitivity to hot and cold, discoloration or a darkening of the tooth, swelling and tenderness of the gums, a recurring pimple on the gums, an abscessed tooth or an area of the tooth or gums with an large infection. There also might not be any signs at all, so it is important to always have your teeth examined regularly.

The Procedure

Performing a root canal might sound routine, but each procedure is individualized and requires many steps and possibly more than one dental visit. The basics of the procedure is that the inside of the tooth is cleaned out thoroughly, flushed out, then it is filled and sealed. A crown might also have to be utilized to better seal and prevent any further problems. Root canals have more than a 95% success rate, but are painful, expensive, and can possibly be avoided all together.


If you already have decay, an abscess, or other symptoms, there may not be any prevention for a root canal procedure. If a root canal is not performed at the right time, the tooth may need to be extracted, and removing can cause other problems and is just as expensive. As with most things concerning teeth, prevention begins early with good oral hygiene. And good oral hygiene includes brushing twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing, and regular dentist visits for cleanings and check-ups.

Always contact your dentist right away if experiencing any pain, swelling, or abscesses. Root canals are best treated early to avoid tooth loss.

Don’t Ignore That Toothache

It is unlikely that you would, since little is as bothersome as a toothache, whether sporadic or constant, and your overall health is involved. Ignoring it is a little like trying to ignore a smoke detector’s shrill beep, except that it is almost never a false alarm. It can mean different things, so pay attention to its warning and schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Toothache - Smyrna TN - Legacy Hill Dentistry

Fire in the Hole?

If you experience an intense sudden burst of pain while you are eating, it could signal a cavity, a crack, or erosion of a tooth’s enamel. The enamel protects the dentin, which is really the tooth; a bad fracture exposes the dentin, and that is what hurts. If the enamel has simply been worn away by time and acids, or if a chip affects only the enamel, composites can replace it.

Although a “cracked tooth” sounds worse than a “cavity”, both have equal potential to wreak havoc in your mouth. Anytime the dentin is exposed, acids and bacteria are working directly on your teeth, as opposed to their protective cover. The cavities occur when these destructive agents finally create actual holes through the dentin – i.e., rot the teeth.

Bugs in the System?

If your toothache is a constant, dull throb, it almost certainly indicates either infection or an abscessed tooth. Neither of these can be ignored and the sooner you can schedule a dental appointment, the better. The decay that your toothache is announcing is allowing bacteria to infect your gums, from either inside or out.

Gaps around fillings and receding gums that come with advancing years all let bacteria settle into your mouth. A mild, dull toothache might not have the same shrill demand for attention as a sharp stab of pain, but it is no less dangerous to ignore.