How To Tell If You Require A Root Canal

Root canal treatment is among the most dreaded dental procedures, but it can save your teeth, relieve tooth infections, and enhance your overall oral health. Every year, dentists in the U.S. perform over 15 million root canals to help patients with tooth decay and other dental issues. 

Deciding whether you need a root canal isn't always a straightforward process. While tooth pain is a major indicator, it doesn't always mean you require a root canal. If you've any teeth issues, it's advisable to consult an experienced dentist who can tell if you need root canal therapy. Some dental signs to watch out for include:


You shouldn't dismiss tooth pain as it signifies that there's something wrong with your teeth. The pain can be mild or so strong that you cannot get a goodnight's rest, and it can also be intermittent or continuous. Some patients report having pain that changes in intensity when they adjust their posture.

Pain can indicate that you have an infected or dead tooth, which is why you should mention it to your dentist. The dentist will determine if the pain is due to an infection or other concerns like gum disease.

Tooth Sensitivity

Prolonged tooth sensitivity can indicate nerve damage in your tooth's pulp cavity. If you feel pain when you put pressure or tap your tooth, you may need a root canal. 

While some people's teeth are sensitive to cold and hot foods, the sensitivity lasts long after the food has been eaten in people who need root canals. The sensitivity can manifest as a sharp toothache or dull ache. Damaged roots cannot heal on their own, and a dentist can stop the decay from spreading to neighboring teeth. 

Gum Tenderness and Swelling

If tooth decay is left unchecked, it gradually spreads to the gums and results in inflammation. Swelling that's accompanied by tooth pain often indicates the necessity of root canal treatment. The swelling can be hardly visible, or it can expand to the face or neck. 

You should consult a dentist for swelling that lasts for days or months or gums that are tender to touch. The dentist will use various testing methods to determine if root canal treatment is needed and relieve you from the swelling. 

Tooth Discoloration

Your teeth can become discolored if there's an infection in the pulp cavity. Look out for a grayish-black appearance that often indicates decay in the internal tissue or trauma to your tooth. Tooth coloration caused by trauma can occur after some years, which is why you should report any small tooth changes to your dentist. 

If the infection has extended to the gums, you may see some discoloration in the gums as well. Since many reasons can cause a discolored tooth, you should schedule a dental appointment to determine if you need a root canal.