Toothache: How To Reduce Your Chances Of Needing A Root Canal

Dentist Blog

Why does tooth pain sometimes end in a root canal? You'd probably hope that any pain originating from a tooth will disappear without any major treatment being needed, and this is certainly often the case. But sometimes a sore tooth must be opened by a dentist so that the infected nerve inside can be removed (and this is root canal treatment). So how can you prevent a sore tooth from leading to a root canal?

Dead Nerve Tissue

Root canals are intended to remove necrotic (dead) nerve tissue from inside the tooth. It's also performed when the tissue is severely infected—to the point that recovery is unlikely, and that allowing the infected tissue to remain risks neighboring tissues. This nerve tissue (commonly referred to as the tooth's pulp) is the only part of the tooth capable of registering pain, so extreme toothache as this pulp becomes necrotic isn't unexpected.

Harmful Bacteria

Pulp necrosis can only happen when harmful bacteria reach the pulp, which is generally safely isolated inside the tooth's structure. Tooth decay corrodes enamel, which is the tooth's outer layer. Under that enamel is dentin, and dentin contains a number of microscopic canals, which help to regulate the tooth's inner fluid levels. When dentin is exposed, these canals also permit bacteria to reach the tooth's pulp, leading to infection and necrosis.

Soft Tissues

This level of infection is also possible without conspicuous tooth decay, and infection can originate in the soft tissues surrounding a tooth, before spreading to a tooth's pulp via its root system. This route can also ultimately lead to root canal treatment. It's not always 100% possible to avoid the need for a root canal, but you can definitely reduce your chances.


Infected dental pulp is a condition known as pulpitis, and it's reversible in its early stages. This generally involves the removal of the decayed portions of the tooth structure, before the tooth is sealed. Smaller instances of decay can be sealed with a tooth-colored filling, but a dental crown may be needed for larger areas. Antibiotics can be provided in some cases, but are mostly not necessary—since the tooth's pulp can heal itself when the cause of its irritation has been addressed.

As you may have guessed, early detection of pulp infection is the key to avoiding root canal treatment. Instead of hoping that your recurring toothache is a minor problem that will simply go away, please schedule an appointment with your dentist for further investigation and treatment. 

For more information about tooth pain, contact a local professional. 


15 May 2023

Loving Your Smile

Do you remember the last time you looked at your smile and really loved what you saw? A few years ago I started spending more time analyzing my appearance, and I noticed that my teeth were seriously lacking. I knew that I had to do something to improve the situation, so I began focusing on loving my smile by getting some work done. I started talking with a dentist about how he could help, and it was really incredible to see the simple difference that he was able to make. Within a few years, my smile looked and felt completely different, and I was really pleased with the results. Check out this blog for great information on making your smile more beautiful.