How to Know If You Need a Root Canal

How to Know If You Need a Root Canal
March 6, 2020 Adam Harwood

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure to treat, relieve pain, and save a tooth that becomes infected and inflamed due to decay. During a root canal treatment, the nerve and pulp of the tooth is removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned out and sealed. If the infected tooth goes untreated, the tissue around the infected tooth will also become infected and abscesses may form.

The Signs That You May Need a Root Canal

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below, it’s possible you may need root canal treatment and should contact your endodontist immediately:

Persistent toothache: If you’re in constant pain when eating or drinking – or pain or irritation that isn’t stimulated by activity.

Sensitivity to heat or cold: If you get a toothache when drinking hot drinks, such as coffee or tea, or pain when drinking cold water or eating foods like ice cream.

Swollen gums: Sore or inflamed gums may be an indication that the pulp of the tooth is infected. Swelling comes in many different forms. You may have a raised bump on your gums, or they may just be tender to touch.

Tooth discoloration: A tell-tale sign that you need a root canal is if there’s a greyish-black appearance on the tooth. This darkening of the tooth could be due to an infection of the pulp of the tooth.

Prolonged sensitivity: If you experience pain when putting pressure on the tooth that lasts for weeks or months without any improvement.

Discharge: Drainage from the root of the tooth that may leave an unpleasant taste or cause bad breath.

A chipped or cracked tooth: If a tooth has an injury such as a chip or crack, bacteria can seep in and lead to infection.

What is Root Canal Treatment Like?

Many patients have a fear that this treatment will be extremely painful, but that’s not the case! A root canal procedure with the right endodontist will be comfortable and should be relatively painless. The pain is often felt due to the infection, not the treatment. The treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it. After the procedure, some tenderness is normal and over the counter pain medicine is usually enough to relieve it.

Since you see root canals aren’t so bad, don’t ignore your symptoms. Contact your dentist right away if you have these symptoms or give us a call at 212-475-2100.