How to Tell If You Need a Root Canal

How to Tell If You Need a Root Canal

A root canal procedure is essentially used to save a tooth that needs to be removed. It becomes necessary when the blood or nerve supply, known as the pulp, becomes infected through decay or injury. We understand a root canal procedure can be a bit intimidating at first. We would like to take the time to educate you on the basics of this procedure, as well as give you direction on how to recognize if this is a procedure you may need.

When Is a Root Canal Necessary?
The dentist will recommend a root canal procedure if the pulp of a tooth becomes infected. Infections can occur when gum disease is left untreated. If the tooth pulp becomes infected or dies, a painful abscess can form within the jawbone. This essentially destroys the bone surrounding the affected tooth. In a root canal procedure, the dead or infected tooth pulp is removed to prevent infection from spreading throughout the mouth. After the nerve and pulp is removed, the inside of the affected tooth is cleaned and then sealed. If a root canal is not performed, the tooth may need to be removed.


  • Pain when biting down on an infected tooth. If you experience severe pain when you chew or apply pressure to a tooth you should see your dentist.
  • Pain when you are not using the infected tooth. If you experience severe pain, even without chewing or applying pressure, you should see your dentist.
  • Tooth sensitivity to cold or hot foods and drinks.
  • Tooth discoloration.
  • Swollen gums around the infected tooth. If you experience extended pain and sensitivity, or swelling and tenderness of the surrounding gum area you should see your dentist.

When Do I Need A Root Canal Procedure?
If you notice one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, you should contact your dentist to make an appointment. In an appointment, your dentist will be able to evaluate your issue and offer the necessary treatment.

For more information, visit our page on Root Canal Therapy!