Don’t Ignore These Symptoms: You Could Need a Root Canal

Root Canal

Root canals are a type of dental procedure often necessary when a tooth has become infected or injured due to deep decay or trauma. Generally, root canals are performed to save a damaged tooth from needing to be extracted, and they can provide a great deal of relief for those suffering from tooth pain.  

This begs the question, how do you know if you need a root canal? Several signs and symptoms may indicate if a root canal is necessary, and if you experience any of them, you should contact your dentist for an appointment.

1. Intense Pain 

Persistent discomfort in your tooth can be indicative of a root canal being necessary. The aching sensation may come and go but never completely dissipate. It may be a throbbing feeling deep in the innards of your tooth, or you may feel it radiating to your face, jaw, or other teeth. These are all signs you should visit the dentist for a root canal.

A root canal may not always cause tooth pain. Other possible sources include gum disease, a cavity, sinus infection pressure, damaged fillings, or an impacted tooth that may be infected.

If you’re experiencing prolonged dental pain, it’s a good idea to visit the dentist at once. Diagnosing and treating a problem early can often result in a more favorable outcome.

2. Tender Gums

Swelling is a result of the accumulation of acidic waste products from dead pulp tissue. This buildup of acid can cause an increase in pressure and fluid collection in the area around the root tip, resulting in edema. Pimples around the mouth can also cause a buildup of bacteria and infection in the tooth. This results in bad breath and a foul taste in the mouth.

Swollen gums near a tooth that is causing pain can indicate a severe issue that needs to be addressed by a dentist. The area may become tender or inflamed, and the swelling may come and go. When touched, the gum may become more sensitive, or it may not be painful. A root canal may be required to treat the problem.

3. Darkening of the Tooth

If a bacterial infection develops in the inner core of your tooth, it can lead to discoloration of the tooth, affecting its appearance. The tooth’s roots can be damaged due to trauma or breakdown of the internal tissue, resulting in a discoloration that gives the tooth a dark grayish hue.

Root canals are necessary when the blood supply to a tooth is insufficient, indicating that the pulp inside the tooth has died. If you notice a change in the color of your tooth, it’s best to make an appointment with your dentist to determine the cause of the discoloration.

4. Sensitivity to Hot and Cold

Sensitivity of your teeth is when you experience pain or discomfort when eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet. This pain can be a dull ache or a sharp pain and may last for a long time. If the sensitivity persists, you may need to see a dentist for a root canal to treat it.

If you feel pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold, it could be a sign that the nerves and blood vessels around your tooth are inflamed or damaged.


Awareness of the telltale signs of a root canal is essential. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, see a dentist as soon as possible. Root canals can save your tooth and prevent further infection.

Get a brighter, healthier smile by booking a dental appointment at Chestnut Hill Dental. We have some of the best dentists in Brighton, MA. Teeth whitening treatments are also available upon request. Contact us for more information.