If you’re in unbearable tooth pain, then you may need emergency dental treatment. There are many situations that may cause tooth pain, including:

  • A damaged large or deep filling
  • Tooth decay
  • Leakage under an old filling or crown
  • Cracks or tooth fracture
  • Trauma from a sports injury, fall, or accident

In these situations, the pain is usually due to exposure and infection of the tooth pulp. The tooth pulp is the canal inside the tooth, extending from the top of the crown to the tip of the root that contains the nerves and blood vessels. Your dentist may recommend root canal therapy to eliminate the pain and infection from the tooth, allowing you to retain the tooth with optimal function and aesthetic.

Other signs that your pulp is infected include:

  • Tenderness when biting or chewing
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold items
  • Swelling of the gum near the infected tooth
  • A loose tooth
  • Facial swelling
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Fistula (pimple) on the gum
  • Pain in the jaw or ear

Your dentist may perform an X-ray of the affected tooth to identify the cause of pain or infection. In some cases, antibiotics can be prescribed to treat root canal infections. But if they’re not effective, the dentist may recommend tooth removal or root canal therapy.

Root Canal Treatment

When the damaged or dead pulp is not removed, it becomes infected, and may lead to tooth abscess. If the problem escalates to the point of developing an abscess, it drastically reduces the chances of successful endodontic treatment. In such cases, the dentist will recommend tooth extraction followed by replacement with partial dentures, bridgework, or tooth implant.

On the other hand, a successful root canal treatment can extend the functional life of your badly damaged tooth, preventing tooth removal and additional treatment to fill the gap. After root canal therapy and crown or onlay placement, the restored tooth doesn’t require any special care, as long as you practice good oral hygiene.