Dental Therapy: 7 Telltale Signs You May Need a Root Canal

Women went Dental Clinic for Dental Therapy

Did you know that in America alone, over 15 million root canals are performed annually? Even though root canals are common, many people have negative associations with them — and therefore, try to avoid them — which only exasperates their painful symptoms. This is further compounded when people are unsure of when they need this type of procedure to secure their oral health.

If you’re not a trained and certified neuromuscular dentist, you won’t know what symptoms require a root canal in order to be remedied. This type of surgery is used to restore and preserve teeth that have decayed and decomposed. When your tooth’s pulp is ruptured or damaged, it must be taken out so that your tooth’s insides can be washed and secured.

If you’re curious as to whether or not you need a root canal, here are 7 telltale signs that you do:

1. Chronic Pain

Continuous pain is a primary benchmark that you can use to determine if a root canal is necessary. If doing regular, everyday tasks such as drinking water, eating food, or even talking becomes difficult or painful, it would be prudent of you to book an appointment with your dentist.

Upon arriving at the clinic, your TMJ specialist will assess the pain in your tooth to look for inflamed nerves or blood vessels — which are indicative of an infection. From there, your dentist will determine whether or not a root canal is necessary.

2. Fragmented Tooth or Teeth

Hard foods, rigorous activities, clenching teeth, etc, can all contribute to a cracked or chipped tooth. When this happens, the nerves underneath the tooth are revealed and this can lead to an infection occurring.

And the danger here is that an infection in the root of a tooth can find its way into the bloodstream. And if left untreated, it will certainly require a root canal.

3. Sensitive to Heat and Cold

Tooth sensitivity is another telltale sign that a root canal is needed. If you experience pain when drinking heated beverages such as coffee, hot chocolate, etc, this is not a good sign. If ignored, this pain can go from light and mild to severe and intense.

Additionally, cold food and beverages can also result in a lot of pain if you have an untreated infected tooth. If you crunch ice on a particular side of your mouth to circumvent the pain that you typically experience on the other side, this is a strong sign that you may have impaired nerve endings and might need a root canal.

4. Swollen Gums

Swollen gums are indicative of issues taking place underneath the veneer. When your gums have swelled, have bumps, and are causing you pain, contact your dentist as soon as possible.

From there, your dentist will assess the swelling and then make the determining decision of whether or not a root canal is needed.

5. Tooth Discoloration

Many factors can contribute to the discoloration of your teeth. It could be poor oral hygiene, too many acidic foods that stain the enamel, or damaged nerves and blood vessels. In the case of a damaged blood vessel, your dentist will ensure that you make an appointment for root canal surgery.

6. Extended Sensitivity

If your toothaches with the application of pressure, and that sensitivity remains prevalent over the course of a few days or weeks, then a root canal is recommended. Damaged roots are usually the culprit for lengthened tooth sensitivity. And what’s more, these issues are not self-healing. Permanently ridding yourself of this type of oral pain may require dental work.

7. Gaping Decay

If gaping decay has begun to infect the integrity of your tooth by eating away at its base, then you can rule out brushing, flossing, and mouthwash as viable solutions. Neglected cavities will seep into the nerve of your tooth. And when this happens, then more than likely, your only alternative will be a root canal.

This is the reason why frequent dental appointments in addition to good oral hygiene habits are so crucial. If your gums and teeth are not properly taken care of — over time — it can lead to horrible (and expensive) issues that could have been avoided entirely with the proper oral maintenance.

Get in Touch With Us Today!

Experiencing any kind of pain is never a fun experience. But with oral pain, the level of discomfort and sensitivity can almost be unbearable. If you are dealing with any of the discomforts discussed in this article, or even if you simply just have a few questions you’d like answered in regards to your oral health — get in touch with us today. We look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on November 15th, 2021