You may still need root canal treatment even though you don't feel any pain, because not all infections cause pain. The purpose of a root canal is to treat any infection that has developed in the dental pulp, not just to prevent you from feeling pain. A root canal can prevent the infected tooth from having to be removed. Root canals are necessary for a cracked tooth due to injury or genetics, a deep cavity, or problems with a previous filling.
Patients generally need a root canal when they notice that their teeth are sensitive, especially to hot and cold sensations. The sensitivity may feel like dull or sharp pain. You may need a root canal if this pain persists for a long time, even when you stop eating or drinking. Unfortunately, infected tooth pulp does not heal on its own and requires root canal treatment to be properly treated.
Sometimes, patients may think that a dental infection has healed on its own once they no longer feel pain in the tooth, but this only indicates that the nerves inside the tooth have died. Although the patient may no longer feel pain, the infection will still be present inside the tooth. If left untreated, the bacterial infection can spread to the jaw, brain, blood, and body. Maybe you're afraid of the dentist, can't afford endodontic treatment, or you're just busy thinking about giving up endodontics.
Endodontic or root canal treatment is necessary when the inside of the tooth (the pulp) becomes inflamed or infected as a result of deep cavities, repeated dental procedures, defective crowns, or a crack or splinter in the tooth. If root canal treatment is delayed for too long, the bacterial infection can spread to other areas of the mouth, putting the patient at risk for serious dental problems and other medical conditions. When a patient comes to my office for a cleaning or exam and has pain due to a dead or dying nerve, it's easy to explain the cause of the problem and the cure that will stop the pain is root canal treatment. Root canals give the dentist the opportunity to save the natural tooth and better preserve the structure of the patient's natural smile.
I explain that it may be up to the patient to consider preventive root canal treatment to maintain the integrity of an intact crown and the corresponding more aesthetic appearance. It's normal to be surprised if your dentist tells you that you need root canal treatment, especially if you don't feel any pain. Your mouth will be numb while the dentist cleans cavities, disinfects the roots, and then fills them. You can't diagnose your need for root canal therapy on your own; your dentist will need to perform a professional exam to evaluate your tooth.
Finally, keep in mind that a root canal treatment may be indicated for a tooth or indicated due to an expected course of dental nerve degradation, even if you are painless. If you need a root canal and you have facial swelling or fever, your dentist may give you antibiotics beforehand to clear the infection. There's no need to worry if your dentist or endodontist prescribes a root canal procedure to treat a damaged or diseased tooth. So listen to your dentist, and if you're still not sure why you need root canal treatment when you don't feel pain, just ask more questions.
Because patients are given anesthesia, a root canal is no more painful than a normal dental procedure, such as a filling or the removal of a wisdom tooth.