Signs Your Tooth Needs a Root Canal: When to Seek Treatment


Root canals are often recommended when a tooth is severely damaged or infected. The procedure includes removing the damaged or infected pulp from the tooth and filling the space with a special material to avoid further infection. Sometimes, a crown may be placed over the tooth for additional protection.

If you suspect any of the following signs, it may be time to consider a root canal:

1. Persistent Pain

A telling sign that you may need a root canal is persistent pain in the affected tooth. This pain may be mild or severe, accompanied by swelling or sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. See a dentist if you experience pain lasting more than a few days. 

2. Swelling

Swelling around the affected tooth or the gums near the tooth may indicate that a root canal is required. The swelling may also be accompanied by pain or discomfort. In some cases, the swelling may be seen outside the face. This can indicate an infection that has spread beyond the tooth’s root and requires immediate medical attention.

3. Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures is a common sign that you may need a root canal at once. This sensitivity may be mild or severe and may occur when you eat or drink something hot or cold. If you experience sensitivity that lasts for more than a few days, seek treatment from a dental professional as soon as possible.

4. Darkening of the Tooth

If your tooth has become discolored or darkened, it may be a sign that the nerve inside it is damaged or dying. This can occur due to trauma, decay, or other issues. If you notice any discoloration or darkening of a tooth, schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine if a root canal is necessary.

5. Gum Pimples

Gum pimples, also known as fistulas, are small bumps that may appear on the gums near a damaged or infected tooth. These bumps are caused by the infection trying to find its way out of the tooth and can signify that a root canal is necessary. This can be a serious issue that requires prompt treatment from a dental professional.

6. Loose Tooth

A loose tooth can indicate a severe dental issue, especially in adults. It can be caused by gum disease, trauma, or a root canal infection. If left untreated, a loose tooth can eventually fall out. The dentist will likely recommend a root canal to save the tooth and prevent further damage to surrounding teeth and gums.

7. Previous Dental Work

If you have undergone previous dental work such as fillings, crowns, or bridges, you must monitor them for any signs of damage or decay. Without proper treatment, these issues can lead to more serious dental problems that may require more extensive and costly treatment. Regular dental check-ups can help catch and treat any issues early on.

8. Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, may result from several factors, including poor oral hygiene, gum disease, dry mouth, and certain foods or medications. If you have bad breath that persists, it may be a more serious dental issue and needs further evaluation.

The Bottomline

A root canal may be required if you are experiencing any of the signs listed above. Be sure to seek treatment from a dentist promptly to prevent further damage or infection. If you have questions or concerns about root canals, speak with your dental professional to learn more about the procedure and what to expect.

At Chestnut Hill Dental, we offer comprehensive dental services, including root canals. Our dentists in Brighton, MA, will work with you to ensure you receive the best possible care and treatment. We utilize only the latest technology and methods to ensure your root canal is as comfortable and efficient as possible. Call us at (617) 566-0308 to book an appointment!