Throbbing Toothache? When to See a Dentist

Are you experiencing a persistent, throbbing toothache that just won’t seem to go away? We understand that it can be tempting to disregard the pain, particularly if you have dental anxiety. However, you should speak with your dentist and take care of it quickly to avoid any further problems in the future.


Severe tooth pain is usually caused by an infection or damage to the tooth’s pulp – the innermost layer containing nerves and blood vessels. In such situations, a root canal treatment may be necessary to relieve any discomfort you are experiencing and prevent the need for an extraction.


We understand that the words “root canal treatment” can worry many people. You might have heard from friends or family members or read online that the procedure can be painful. However, it’s important to know that this is no longer the case. Root canal treatment is a highly effective and routine procedure performed by dentists worldwide every day, and there have been new developments in dentistry that have made the experience virtually pain-free. For instance, the local anaesthetic used today is more potent than before and can effectively numb discomfort.


So, if you’re suffering from a throbbing toothache and wondering if it’s time to visit the dentist, we recommend that you do, as you may need a root canal if you have an infection. Please continue reading if you would like to learn more about what happens during a root canal procedure at our Northampton dental clinic.


Recognising the Signs that You Need a Root Canal:


Persistent Pain: A persistent, throbbing toothache that worsens with pressure or temperature changes is a common indicator of pulp infection or inflammation.


Sensitivity to Hot and Cold: If you experience heightened sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages, it could be a sign of nerve damage within the tooth.


Swelling and Tenderness: Swelling around the affected tooth, accompanied by tenderness in the surrounding gums or jaw, may indicate an underlying infection.


Discolouration: Tooth discolouration, particularly a darkening or greyish hue, can be a sign of pulp decay or damage.


Pus: The presence of pus around the affected tooth or in the gums clearly indicates infection and requires immediate dental attention.


Bad Taste in Mouth: An unpleasant or persistent bad taste in the mouth, especially near the affected tooth, may indicate the presence of infection or decay.


Feeling Unwell


The Root Canal Procedure


Here’s what typically happens during a root canal (endodontic therapy):


Diagnosis: At your first visit, one of our dentists will conduct a thorough examination, possibly including X-rays, to assess the extent of the damage and determine if a root canal is necessary.


Anaesthesia: Local anaesthesia will be administered to the affected area to ensure you remain comfortable throughout the procedure.


Pulp Removal: Our dentist will then create a small access point in the tooth and remove the infected or damaged pulp using specialised instruments.


Cleaning and Shaping: The root canal space is meticulously cleaned, disinfected, and shaped to prepare it for filling.


Filling and Sealing: Once cleaned, the empty root canal is filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha and sealed with a temporary white filling to prevent the tooth from becoming infected again. 


Restoration: At your second appointment, we will work on restoring the tooth. Depending on your tooth’s condition and whether discolouration has occurred, we will add either a permanent filling or dental crown to the treated tooth to restore its strength, function, and appearance.


Why Prompt Treatment Matters


Spread of Infection: Untreated dental infections can spread to neighbouring teeth, gums, and even the jawbone, causing further complications.


Abscess Formation: Prolonged infection may result in the formation of a painful abscess, a pocket of pus that can lead to systemic health issues if left untreated.


Tooth Loss: In chronic cases, untreated infections may lead to tooth loss, which requires additional dental procedures to replace the missing tooth.


Worried About Having a Root Canal?


If you’re worried about having a root canal, please try not to be. If you’re someone who experiences dental anxiety or needle phobia or finds lengthy dental procedures unpleasant, we can offer you conscious sedation, which comforts many of our nervous patients. 


Conscious sedation will help calm your nerves during the appointment and make the procedure much easier and safer for us to carry out. With intravenous (IV) sedation, you should feel warm, calm, and comfortable, and you’ll still be able to communicate with us throughout the procedure. In addition to this, we also offer inhalation sedation via a nasal mask (gas and air). 


If you feel that sedation might be helpful for your upcoming appointment, don’t hesitate to contact us today to speak to one of our team members. Please note that sedation requires an initial consultation to ensure you’re suitable, so please reach out to us in good time before your appointment.


Final Thoughts


If you’re suffering from a throbbing toothache or any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s time to contact our Cliftonville team for an examination. Should you need a root canal, don’t panic. Root canal treatment has a high success rate and can effectively alleviate your pain, preserve your natural teeth, and prevent the need for more invasive procedures in the future. 


Schedule an appointment today to start feeling better and get your smile back on track.


Call us: 01604 604545

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Our Address: 65 The Avenue, Northampton NN1 5BT

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