South Anchorage Dental Center

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

October 9, 2019
How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

Experiencing tooth pain? Wondering if you might need a root canal?

Many of our patients cringe when they hear they need root canal treatment. It is a common misconception that root canals are the most painful among dental procedures. They are actually no worse than fillings! The relief you'll feel after this treatment far outweighs any discomfort during the process.

How do you know if you need a root canal? Only your dentist can determine if a root canal procedure is necessary, but you may be wondering if it's a good idea to call. Let's talk about some of the signs and symptoms.

Want to save 20% on your root canal treatment and get a discount on any emergency exam? Sign up for our NEW Dental Savings Plan for these exclusive benefits and more.

1. You're Experiencing Severe Tooth Pain

An obvious first sign of root canal issues is tooth pain. Is your tooth pain moderate to severe--worse than it's ever been before? Your root canal houses your tooth pulp, which holds all the nerves and blood vessels in your tooth. When this pulp becomes damaged or infected, pain is the result. You may be in need of a root canal treatment if you are experiencing severe pain that worsens during the day or when you chew or apply pressure to the tooth.

2. Your Hot/Cold Sensitivity Lingers

If your tooth is sensitive to hot or cold food or drinks, you should talk to your dentist. If the feeling lingers after the cause of the sensitivity has been removed, you may be in need of a root canal.

3. You're Getting Pimples on Your Gums

When the pulp in your root canal becomes infected, it sometimes creates a pocket of puss beneath the gums at the bottom of the root. This is better known as an "abscess" and it appears as a pimple on your gums near the tooth. If you are getting severe or recurring pimples in the same area, you may have an abscessed tooth and need a root canal procedure.

4. Your Tooth Is Becoming Discolored

Discoloration or darkening of the tooth in question is a sign of a damaged or infected root canal. If you are experiencing an oddly colored tooth, you may need to talk to your dentist about getting a root canal treatment.

5. Your Gums Are Tender or Swelling

Infected pulp causes swelling of the gums that can extend to the face, head, and neck if not taken care of. If you have tender or swelling gums, you may need a root canal. Talk to your dentist!

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be wondering why your tooth pulp is damaged or infected in the first place. Damaged and infected tooth pulp can be caused by:

  • Extensive tooth decay
  • Cracks and chips to the tooth that allow bacteria to enter the inner cavities and cause decay
  • Extensive dental fillings or repeat dental procedures

If you have experienced any of these things in combination with the symptoms outlined above, it is very likely that you need a root canal treatment.

Root canals have a 95% success rate and many teeth treated by a root canal procedure last for the rest of a patient's life, provided they observe recommended dental hygiene. In addition, the pain of a root canal treatment is no worse than a filling, so there is nothing to fear.

If you think you may need a root canal, schedule a free consultation with us at South Anchorage Dental Center. We would be happy to discuss your symptoms with you. If it sounds like you may have damaged or infected pulp, we may perform x-rays to determine the extent of the infection and decide if a root canal is necessary. You can save 20% on any root canal treatment needed if you sign-up for our Dental Savings Plan. Tooth pain is no fun. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you feel better soon!

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