Severe tooth pain is often caused by a serious infection of the pulp inside your teeth. Decay can eat into your tooth surface and finally reach the nerve endings and blood vessels in your inner tooth. Treating such an infection usually requires a procedure called a "root canal," which involves the removal of dead or infected root nerves endings so that the canal space can be cleaned and sealed to prevent further infection and pain.
How to know you need a root canal
Not all types of tooth pain indicate an infection of the pulp or that a removal of the nerves is necessary. In other cases, cavities can just be sealed with amalgam fillings to prevent exposure of nerves and halt tooth pain, but sometimes it is inevitable that a root canal is performed.
A massive cavity on the surface of your tooth, accompanied by severe tooth pain especially when pressure is put on the area, could indicate nerve damage that would require a root canal. Another indicator of infected pulp is severe sensitivity to cold or hot drinks even after the stimuli are removed.
Inflammation or swelling around the gums, often accompanied by swelling of the face, also indicates an abscessed tooth that has severe nerve damage that must be surgically removed to end the pain and swelling.
A small, pimple-like nodule -- also called a sinus -- is also a common indicator of an infected inner tooth that requires a root canal. The nodule often produces pus, giving you a bad taste in your mouth. The area is also likely to be painful when touched, and may swell a lot more as the infection takes hold.
How a root canal can help
Pain caused by diseased nerve endings can be excruciating, often keeping you up at night and rarely responding to painkillers. The best way to halt such pain is to get a root canal.
The first step in the procedure is to assess the extent of pulp damage using x-rays. A percussion test may also be performed to check your teeth and gums for soreness so that the source of the infection can be pinpointed. Once your dentist identifies the ailing tooth, he or she will use a local anesthetic to numb the area in readiness for the root canal procedure.
Using special tools, the dentist will make an opening on the crown of your tooth so as to access the infected pulp and take it out. The cavity is then filled using composite resins or an inlay so as to protect it from further infection.
If you think that you have a severe tooth decay, contact a top dentist as soon as possible to assess the situation. Relief from your pain may just be a root canal away.