woman inspecting dental patient

When to Decide You Need a Root Canal

Team General Dentistry

A root canal is a procedure that has an unfortunate reputation. Its name has become synonymous with pain and unpleasantness. In reality, a root canal is no more painful than most other dental procedures, such as a regular cavity filling. 

A root canal is needed when the soft pulp inside the root of a tooth gets infected. This can happen because of a deep cavity that creates an avenue for bacteria to reach the inside of the tooth root. It can also be the result of bacteria and gum disease that exists below the gum line and has permeated the root of the tooth. Sometimes an unknown crack in a tooth is the access point for bacteria to infect a tooth. 

Do you think you may be in need of a root canal procedure? Here are 3 signs and symptoms that may indicate an infected tooth root.

    1. Severe, persistent tooth pain. If you have a toothache that is not subsiding, especially if you feel a throbbing sensation, you may have an infected tooth root. In some cases severe toothache is only an indication of a cavity. Either way, you need to seek immediate dental care to assess the situation and apply necessary treatment.

    2. Extreme sensitivity to cold or heat in one area of the mouth. Sensitive teeth are a common issue for many people. You may feel some slight discomfort when you drink something hot or cold or maybe something sweet. However, if the discomfort is severe in just one area of your mouth and persists after the source of the heat or cold has been removed, it’s a sign that there may be a root infection.

    3. Discoloration of a single tooth. Do you have one tooth that is gray or looks dark, enough that it stands out from your other teeth? That tooth is most likely infected or the pulp inside is already dead. If your tooth looks this way but you don’t feel any pain, it could be that the nerve is dead. However, treatment is still necessary, even if it doesn’t hurt. A dead tooth can become loose and fall out or cause an infection in the gums that will still cause severe pain. If you wish to save the tooth, call your dentist and schedule an evaluation.

What to Do If You Suspect You Might Need a Root Canal

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, there’s a possibility that you may need a root canal. But to be sure, a dentist needs to do an examination. When you experience these symptoms:

  • During business hours: simply call the office at (212) 813-0850 and explain the situation. We will do our best to work you in so that you can be evaluated, and possibly treated, the same day. If a root canal is necessary, it may have to be scheduled for the following day.

  • After business hours: if our office is closed and the pain is too severe to wait until we reopen, call the office at (212) 813-0850 and follow the instructions.

What Does a Root Canal Procedure Entail?

The endodontist will need to open the crown of the tooth in order to access the root canal. The soft tissue inside of the tooth root, called the pulp, is removed. The root canal is cleaned out to remove all infected tissue. After a few days if the infection has completely cleared up, the root canal will be filled and the crown will be sealed. 

Why Visit Meridian Dental Group For Your Root Canal Procedure?

While a root canal is not nearly as invasive as it once was, it is still a procedure that is less painful with shorter recovery time when performed by an endodontist. Meridian Dental Group has an endodontist on staff to handle root canals and any other endodontic procedures. Endodontists have completed specific educational requirements in order to perform these procedures. Dr. Linda Shin, the endodontist on staff, has more than 15 years of experience.   

If you suspect you may need a root canal, call (212) 813-0850 to make an appointment with Meridian Dental Group or request an appointment.