Middle-aged man smiling in dental exam chair

3 Signs You Need a Root Canal

Team Endodontics

How do you know if you need a root canal? Your dentist may recommend a root canal if you have a deep cavity that appears to extend through the enamel and into the pulp chamber of your tooth. This may be detected by an X-Ray during a routine dental exam. But before this occurs, you may have some signs and symptoms that indicate the need for a root canal. 

What exactly is a root canal and how do I know if I need one? Here are the 3 of the top signs you may need a root canal and what exactly the procedure entails. 

  1. Severe Tooth Pain. The most common sign that you may need a root canal is severe tooth pain. If you have a toothache that is throbbing and does not subside with over the counter pain medication, it’s a sign that the inner pulp of your tooth is infected. Even if the pain does subside with the help of pain medication, but it comes back when the medication wears off, your tooth may still need attention.

    When the inner pulp of a tooth becomes infected, it can cause extreme pain. If a root canal procedure is performed early enough, the tooth may be saved. However, if the infection goes on too long, the tooth may become loose and fall out or deteriorate beyond the point of restoration. The infection may also spread and enter the bloodstream, which has severe health implications. Call your dentist right away if you have a severe toothache.

  2. Extreme Tooth Sensitivity. On a lesser scale than the throbbing pain described above, your tooth may simply be sensitive. Tooth sensitivity is normal for many people when they eat or drink something cold or hot. However, when a tooth has decayed through the enamel enough to expose the inner pulp of the tooth, sensitivity is heightened. The inner pulp of your tooth is where the nerves reside, and those nerves are extremely sensitive.

    If you have lingering sensitivity that does not subside after you remove the source of the heat or cold, it is an indication that the tooth may need a root canal.

  3. Discoloration of the Tooth. When a tooth becomes discolored, such as a gray or brown color, it may indicate that the soft pulp inside of the tooth is dead. The inner pulp of your tooth contains blood vessels that supply the tooth and the nerves with fresh blood. When those blood vessels are no longer working, the inner pulp is essentially dead, which causes the discoloration of the tooth. The tooth may be able to be saved by a root canal procedure.

    If you notice that one tooth is darker than the others it may indicate the need for a root canal. The one tooth should stand out from the others, not to be confused with normal tooth discoloration that occurs over time across all of the teeth. 

What Does a Root Canal Procedure Entail?

To perform a root canal, the dentist will enter the inner chamber of the tooth through the crown. All of the inner pulp will be removed and the root canal will be cleaned out and disinfected. The root canal will then be filled up with composite resin, the same material used to fill cavities. 

If the existing crown of the tooth is primarily intact, the hole in the tooth where the root canal was accessed will be filled. If the existing tooth is too damaged to be repaired, an artificial crown may be placed over the tooth. After a root canal, the tooth will most likely stay in place for the rest of your life as long as you practice good oral hygiene habits. 

Meridian Dental Group Provides Quick and Easy Root Canals

Somehow along the way, the root canal procedure became synonymous with pain and suffering. But with current dental technology, a root canal is as painless as a routine cavity filling. At Meridian Dental Group we strive to make your experience as comfortable and convenient as possible. Our goal is to save your tooth and restore your dental health. 

Call 212-813-0850 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment. We look forward to providing you with quality dental care.