Timbercrest Dental Center

My Dentist Says I Need A Root Canal, But My Tooth Doesn’t Hurt…

Dr. John Luther

Dr. John Luther, D.D.S. & Founder

Apr 17, 2013

If my tooth doesn’t hurt, why do I need a root canal?

Good question. 

We’ve all heard the old addage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  In the case of an infected tooth, however, it IS “broke” – in the sense that the tooth is injured and this injury needs to be addressed, whether there is pain associated with the tooth or not. 

Not taking care of the infection can lead to a serious problem, including:

  • increased pain
  • loss of  the tooth
  • systemic infection 
  • in worst case scenario – death

While you may not be experiencing acute pain (if the infection has an escape route, there may be little to no pain) there is still a chance the infection can cause serious problems with your tooth and/or overall health…An infected tooth is not something you should gamble on getting better on its own.

An infection of the root of the tooth is most commonly diagnosed by Dr. Luther with a periapical x-ray (or PA) and possibly some additional tests to determine how sensitive the tooth is to hot, cold and/or biting.

If you do have an infection in your tooth, it will require a root canal (by Dr. Luther or by a root canal specialist)  to rid the tooth of the infection; an active infection will also require antibiotics.

Generally speaking, once a root canal has been performed (and the blood supply is removed from the tooth), the root canal tooth will then need a crown, a post and core to help support the tooth, and most probably a crown buildup to bring the tooth structure back to an appropriate level to seat a crown on the tooth tightly.   

We urge you not to let an infected tooth go untreated.  We value ALL of our patients and want you to stay healthy!

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