More than 41,000 root canal treatments are performed each day in the United States – more than 15 million each year. Threats to your natural teeth leading to a root canal are not complicated, but each person’s experience of their symptoms can be unique.
Let’s look at some of the causes and symptoms of tooth infections that can result in a root canal. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your dentist or endodontist immediately to schedule an examination.
The Two D’s Of Tooth Root Infection
Root canal treatment has proven to be one of the most effective ways to deal with infection in the pulp of the tooth. The infection is usually related to two major culprits: damage to the tooth structure that lets in bacteria, or advanced decay reaching the interior areas of the tooth. Such an infection might show in a variety of symptoms.
Symptoms Indicating A Root Canal Is Needed
- Persistent pain in a tooth. A healthy tooth does not hurt. While tooth pain can require other treatments beyond or in addition to a root canal, constant or recurring tooth pain should definitely prompt a visit to your dental provider.
- A pimple or “gum boil” near the infected tooth. Dying tissues in the tooth can cause a buildup of fluid under the gum surface. If the boil bursts, the fluid will have an unpleasant taste and odor.
- Swollen gums near the infected tooth. Your gums may feel tender or look swollen, even if there is no gum boil present. This swelling can be intermittent, so you may not be in the clear even if the swelling goes away for a while.
- Sensitivity to sources of heat and cold. An infected tooth can feel pain or sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink, even long after you’ve consumed it. The sensation can be anything from a sharp pain to a dull ache.
- Your tooth feels loose when you touch it. The tooth infection can seep acidic wastes that soften the bone around the tooth needing a root canal, making it feel loose inside your mouth.
- The tooth is discolored. The roots of a badly infected tooth may be receiving a poor supply of blood, which can make it look darker than usual.
Clearly, it’s difficult to know if you need a root canal without a thorough dental examination. If you have one or more of these symptoms, make an appointment now to get an official diagnosis.
“Symptoms of dental issues requiring a root canal can be highly individualized,” says Dr. Jacqueline Allen, Phoenix Endodontic Group. “Our endodontists will evaluate your symptoms and plan your treatment so you can save your tooth and stop hurting.”