Determining whether you need a root canal or another type of dental treatment is usually handled by your general dentist or endodontist. You can avoid many complications by knowing the signs and symptoms indicating a root canal may be needed, and making an appointment to have your tooth examined.
Signs You May Need A Root Canal
Root canals are often the treatment of choice when a tooth has become injured or infected at a level impacting your dental pulp – the part of your tooth beneath the enamel and dentin layers, made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue.
There are many ways this part of the tooth can be injured:
- A chip or crack in the tooth lets bacteria into the pulp, causing infection
- Severe, untreated tooth decay or cavities
- Trauma to the face resulting in damage to your tooth’s structure
Sometimes teeth needing root canals show few symptoms and require diagnosis through careful examination by a dental professional using radiographs or other imaging techniques. It’s often apparent, though, when something is wrong with your tooth. Some of the symptoms that may call for a root canal include:
- A severe toothache that gets worse when you chew or apply pressure near the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness of the gums near the tooth
- Discoloration (usually darkening) of the tooth
- The tooth is sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, and discomfort remains after the source of the temperature change is gone
- A pimple on the gums that persists or keeps reappearing
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your general dentist or endodontist immediately.
“Recognizing the signs of damaged or infected teeth can save patients extra discomfort and ensure their root canal treatment begins early,” says Dr. Susan L. Wood, an endodontist who practices with the Phoenix Endodontic Group.