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3 Signs You Need a Root Canal

July 30, 2023
3 Signs You Need a Root Canal

Root canals are one of the best ways to save an ailing tooth, and thanks to modern dental practices the procedure is generally quick and painless. However, root canal treatment does involve digging into a tooth to get at the infected pulp inside, so you endodontist generally won’t recommend a root canal unless there is no other way to save the tooth.


But how do you know if you need a root canal to save your tooth? Your endodontist will make the decision during an oral examination, but there are many signs that can help you determine if you should book an appointment or not. To keep things brief, here are the top three signs you should be aware of that should encourage you to see a dentist for a potential root canal:

Sign #1: Mouth pain

Inside your tooth is pulp, which consists of blood vessels, nerves, and other tissues that connect your teeth to the roots and the rest of your mouth. Just like the rest of your body, when the pulp becomes infected or damaged, pain signals will be sent to your brain to let you know that there is something wrong with your teeth.


It is important to note that just because your teeth hurt, you don’t need to rush in for a root canal. There are many other issues that might be causing you to experience oral pain, such as a cavity, many of which can be solved without endodontic treatment. However, if you are experiencing intense, regularly occurring, or lingering pain that doesn’t fade after a few hours, you should consider booking an appointment with your dentist.

Sign #2: Chipped, cracked, or damaged teeth

The pulp inside your teeth is protected by enamel, or the outer shell that makes up the part of the tooth you see and eat with. When the enamel is cracked, chipped, or otherwise damaged, bacteria can slip through the openings and infect the dental pulp inside. This is what causes a tooth to get infected and decay, and may cause you to eventually get a root canal.


Prevention is always better than treatment, so if you have a damaged tooth consider consulting a dentist for ways to restore your tooth. Some cosmetic and other restorative treatment options can help seal up chips and cracks, ensuring that the healthy pulp inside doesn’t get contaminated by harmful oral bacteria.

Sign #3: Tender, swelling, or extremely sensitive gums

When your dental pulp is infected, white blood cells are made by your body to fight off the infection. Pus is often generated as a result, and when enough pus builds up an abscess forms. Patients with infected dental pulp may develop an abscess in their gums, which is a clear sign that a root canal may be needed to clear away the dead and infected dental pulp.


However, an abscess doesn’t always form, even in teeth with severe pulp infections. Make sure you pay attention to the following teeth and gum infection symptoms, all of which may eventually develop into an abscess or an infection that requires a root canal if your teeth are left untreated:

  • Tender gums, especially around teeth
  • Gum swelling
  • Face or neck swelling
  • Discolored gums, including extreme darkening
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
  • Other unnatural lesions in your gums, especially around teeth


Need a root canal? Schedule your treatment at Oakdale Dental

Live near or in Holyoke, Massachusetts? Need a root canal, or want a second opinion on the best way to improve your oral health? Then consider booking an appointment with our dental specialists here at Oakdale Dental Associates. Our highly trained staff will do everything they can to help you improve your smile. We offer a range of dental treatment options for this reason, along with diagnostic and preventive solutions to help you maintain your oral hygiene.

Have a question about our services or ready to schedule an appointment? Then contact us today by phone or online! We look forward to seeing you soon when you get expert care from our team here at Oakdale Dental Associates. 

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Holyoke, MA 01040
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