5 Signs You May Need a Root Canal

September 14, 2018 by admin0

5 Common Signs You May Need a Root Canal (and Signs You Probably Don’t)

Sometimes tooth pain can be so severe that you may think you need a root canal. But did you know that your tooth pain can also indicate a problem that requires a different type of dental treatment?

Only your skilled dentist will be able to tell for sure if you do or do not need root canal therapy, but the following common symptoms should prompt you to pay a visit to your dentist so he or she can decide if you need a root canal, or something else.

Do You Need a Root Canal? Common Signs & Symptoms

If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms due to dental decay, a cracked or broken tooth, a tooth injury or severe infection, you may need a root canal (endodontic therapy). Contact your dentist right away if:

  • You have severe tooth pain – especially when you chew or put any sort of pressure on a certain area of your tooth.
  • You notice tender or swollen gums near the painful tooth.
  • Your painful tooth appears darker or discolored.
  • You see a tiny bump (sort of like a pimple) on your gums where you are experiencing tooth pain.
  • You experience pain in your tooth when it is exposed to hot or cold temperatures, and the pain and sensitivity lingers long after being exposed to these elements.

Signs You Probably Don’t Need a Root Canal (But Maybe Something Else)

The following common signs and symptoms may indicate other dental issues, some of which may require alternate dental treatments.

  • You experience mild tooth pain when you eat or drink something that is hot or cold. The pain is not prolonged.
    • If you had a dental procedure recently (a tooth filling or a dental crown), you may experience this type of tooth pain. However, if it doesn’t go away after six weeks, or becomes severe, you may need root canal therapy.
    • Additionally, your teeth just may be more sensitive to hot or cold foods and liquids. If the pain goes away within a few seconds of being exposed to one of these elements, there probably isn’t a real dental issue here.
  • You feel sharp pain in your tooth when you bite in a certain way.
    • You may have a cracked tooth. If so, your dentist will want to see if you need a dental crown to prevent more cracking. You may need a root canal in this tooth eventually, but probably not right away.
  • Your tooth pain sets in when you eat something sweet and sugary, but the pain goes away quickly.
    • You may actually have a cavity, a filling that is broken or loose, or even receding gums that may expose your tooth’s root. Check with your dentist to see what he or she recommends in this case.
  • You notice that your tooth is only sensitive to touch, and that your gums are swollen around this tooth.
    • If you don’t experience this pain when drinking liquids that are hot or cold, but the pain is severe and goes away when you brush, then you may have a periodontal abscess. Your dentist may wish to take an x-ray and perform other tests to figure out what is wrong.
  • The pain you feel in your tooth is “electric” in nature. It’s sharp and shooting.
    • This may be due to metal fillings. If your painful tooth continues to give you problems constantly, your dentist may recommend swapping out the metal with a tooth filling made of composite resin or other non-metal materials.
  • A group of teeth have become painful, but are non-specific. The pain is also worsened when you are working out, walking down sets of stairs or jumping.
    • You may have sinusitis. In this case, a root canal will not be required. Contact your family physician.
  • You have pain in your cheeks or increased pain in your mouth in the morning.
    • You could be grinding or clenching your teeth at night. Contact your dentist to see if you have bruxism. If so, he or she may recommend dental Botox therapy.

Remember: The above information points are to be used as general guidelines and you SHOULD NOT use this information to diagnose yourself. If you think you need a root canal, contact our NW DENTAL Office so we can give you an expert diagnosis, and put you on an endodontic treatment plan that fits your specific dental needs. 


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