Ask a Dentist

March 5, 2021

Q: Do I need to get a root canal?

Dentist and dental assistant performing a dental procedure on a patient

At Dental Image Therapy Centres, we make sure our patients get the best treatment plan for their toothaches. And, if the toothache is causing severe pain, it may mean you need a root canal. Root canal treatment is recommended when your tooth’s nerves are injured or dead. If left untreated, tooth abscess and infection can occur causing immense pain. Such infections often occur within the soft tissue in a tooth, otherwise called the pulp chamber. This chamber lies in the hollow centre of your tooth and contains sensitive items such as blood vessels and nerve tissues. The different parts of the tooth do a lot of things, take a look at our previous blog post about it.

How Does The Pulp Get Infected? 

Your tooth pulp may get infected due to different reasons – the most common causes include a deep cavity, a cracked tooth or an injury from an accident.

Root canals are an alternative treatment to getting an extraction (having your tooth pulled out). Before root canal therapy was invented, that’s just what happened with severe toothaches - you got them pulled. 

In instances where the damage is too severe for a root canal, the tooth may need to be extracted, replacing it with either a dental implant, a removable partial denture or a bridge.

But Do I Need A Root Canal?

We often recommend a root canal treatment for an infected tooth particularly if the outer, bony part of the tooth is still considered healthy and durable. In this case, there would be no real need to pull out the entire tooth. Rather, a root canal treatment would clean out the infected root of the tooth as well as the pulp chamber. 

So basically, the question of whether you need a root canal or not, will be answered how infected or injured your tooth is. If the dentist can see that the scale of infection is limited to the pulp chamber or the roots of the tooth, then a root canal treatment will likely be the best option. If, however, the damage to the tooth is more widespread and has affected other parts of the tooth (particularly the hard, bony section), then a root canal would most likely not be enough to correct the problem. Complete extraction of the tooth would then be seriously considered by your dentist.

With the help of advanced surgery and medication, root canals are relatively pain-free treatments and can be done within an hour (depending on the complexity of the case). Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed after the procedure to prevent further infection and assist the speed of recovery. 

So, if you have a severe toothache, don’t wait to book an appointment and get it assessed. The faster we can see what is happening in your tooth, the faster you can feel better again. Book an appointment at either of our Winnipeg dental clinics, conveniently located in St. Vital Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre.

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Maybe it's time for your and your family's regular checkup and cleaning, you have a toothache or you need to get your treatment plan going - whatever the reason, we're here to help you get your confident smile. Whether you're a new patient or a returning friend, we can't wait to see you at your next appointment at either of our Winnipeg clinics!

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