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One of the best things you can do for your oral health is commit to biannual cleanings. Sometimes, however, you’ll need more than just a regular cleaning from your dentist. Instead, you need special care from an endodontist.

Did you know that while all endodontists are dentists, only three percent of dentists are endodontists? Endodontists have specialized training in tooth pulp. 

The most common procedure patients need from an endodontist is a root canal. The question is, how do you know if you need this special care?

Read on for nine signs that it’s time to make an appointment with your local endodontist

1. Constant Pain

If the pulp or root of your tooth is infected, you may experience excruciating pain that doesn’t relent. Unlike some other types of mouth pain, the pain caused by infected pulp or tooth roots will not solve itself with time. Instead, it will only get worse, spreading through the jaw, neck, and ears.

2. Temperature Sensitivity

A lot of different issues can cause sensitivity to temperature, like worn down enamel, receding gum lines that start to expose the root, and decay. If the sensitivity is caused by an endodontic infection, the discomfort may be more severe and longer lasting. You may also notice that the sensitivity occurs when something sour touches the infected tooth, not just foods and drinks that are hot or cold. 

3. Sensitivity When Touched

As the infection spreads through the interior of your tooth, it may become difficult to do a lot of normal activities due to pain and sensitivity. For example, you may notice discomfort when your toothbrush touches the infected tooth. Because this can discourage you from taking care of your dental health by brushing and flossing, it’s important to talk to your endodontist ASAP to see what kind of treatment could help. 

4. Bumpy Gums

You might see bumps on your gums or feel them with your tongue before they start causing any pain, but don’t take them lightly. Small bumps that form on the gums indicate a dental abscess, a bacterial infection of dental pulp that causes a buildup of puss on the gums. This is a true dental emergency, because it can cause extreme pain, fever, and other health problems that are avoidable with the right treatment. 

Keep in mind that while your primary care provider can prescribe medication to treat the pain associated with a dental abscess, only a dentist can address the root of the problem. 

5. Tooth Discoloration

Here’s the thing: all sorts of substances, like coffee, red wine, and cigarette smoke can cause tooth discoloration over time. Changing your habits and getting professional teeth whitening may address this kind of tooth discoloration. However, if the tooth discoloration seems to happen rapidly, it’s most likely the result of an infection that is spreading through the tooth from the root or pulp.

6. Loose Teeth

Nothing is more exciting than a loose tooth when you’re still shedding your baby teeth, but when adult teeth start to wiggle, it’s not exciting or fun. Once again, there are a few different reasons that your adult teeth can come loose, and one of them is an endodontic infection. When an infection spreads through the interior of your tooth, it can start to put off an acidic byproduct that weakens the bone that holds the tooth in place. 

7. Chips or Cracks

A blow to the mouth can cause your teeth to chip or crack. If possible, seek dental care as soon as the accident occurs that damages your teeth.

If you didn’t seek immediate care, you may find yourself visiting an endodontist in the future. The damaged area can allow bacteria to make its way into the interior of the tooth, where it can cause an endodontic infection.

8. Tooth Decay Around the Base

One of the many benefits of getting regular dental care is that your dentist can catch signs of cavities and treat them early. Cavities are easy to address without having to lose the affected tooth. However, if that cavity goes untreated and decay spreads to the base of the tooth, typical interventions like fillings, brushing, flossing, and rinsing aren’t going to cut it anymore.

This level of decay may lead to tooth removal and implants. At the very least, you’ll need your endodontist to repair the tooth and fit it with a crown. 

9. Difficulty Chewing

An endodontic infection can cause chewing to become an uncomfortable activity. When patients experience pain in one tooth while chewing, they tend to start favoring the other side of their mouth, which can lead to jaw pain and worsening conditions like TMJ.

Eating is one of life’s pleasures, and nothing should stop you from enjoying a good meal. If the pressure of chewing causes a flare up of tooth pain, talk to your endodontist about a possible infection. 

Book an Appointment With Your Richmond Endodontist

If you’re visiting your dentist twice a year, you’re already doing a great job of managing your oral care. However, some problems can’t wait until your next dental cleaningand not all dentists may have the skills to tackle them. If any of these nine signs sound familiar to you, it’s time to consult an endodontist about the possibility of an infection in the root or pulp of your tooth.

Are you still choosing a dentist in Richmond, Texas? Do you need endodontic care? Contact Sweet Tooth Smiles, where we provide services ranging from pediatric dentistry to endodontic intervention.