How Do I Know If I Need A Root Canal?

How Do I Know If I Need A Root Canal?

Root canal therapy—also known as endodontic therapy—is used to repair a damaged tooth. The root canal is the passage between the pulp and the root of a tooth. It contains nerves and blood vessels and sometimes, the root gets infected, leading to sensitivity or tooth decay.

During the procedure, the pulp and nerves inside the tooth are removed to clear out the infection, and then it’s sealed.

This way, it’s protected from any further damage or infections. Some reasons why you might need a root canal include tooth decay, damage or disease. Here are 4 signs that you might need a root canal.

Severe and Prolonged Pain

If tooth decay has penetrated the outer layers of your tooth, it starts affecting the inner layers, including the pulp which contains nerves.

Since nerves are sensitive, you’ll experience severe pain, especially when you eat or put any kind of pressure on that area. If you’ve suffered an injury, it may have cracked or fractured your tooth. This also causes severe pain. If you experience this kind of pain, it’s a good idea to consult a dentist about a possible root canal.


If you experience extreme sensitivity to hot or cold foods, you might need a root canal. This is especially true if the sensitivity is prolonged. This means that even after you’ve stopped eating or drinking the hot/cold item, you continue to experience pain and discomfort.

Swollen Gums

Swollen gums can be a sign of infection. The infection can be in a single tooth, multiple teeth, or your gums. It’s more likely that you’ll need a root canal if the swelling looks like a bump and is above the area of the tooth in which you’re experiencing pain.

This is the sign of an abscess, which means that the infection has spread from the tooth into its surrounding regions.

Discoloration or Darkening of the Tooth

If you start seeing any dark spots, or an overall darkened color of your tooth, it might be the sign of an infection. Discoloration might occur on the outer surface of your tooth, or the inner layers, depending on the cause. Severe decay can also cause the enamel layer of the tooth to erode, revealing the darker dentin below. If you see a change in color, especially in an area which is painful, you might need a root canal.

Notice any of these 4 signs? Visit Bethesda Dental Health today. Discuss all possible treatment options with some of the best dentists in Bethesda!


(301) 654-1887

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