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Common Symptoms That You Need a Root Canal

Posted in Dental Surgery, and General Dentistry

Do I Need a Root Canal?

A root canal is used as an effective but last-ditch effort to save an infected and decayed tooth. The procedure involves removing the tooths pulp that contains damaged blood vessels and nerves, cleaning it out, and then sealing it off.


Symptoms that might indicate the necessity of a root canal are often insignificant and usually unnoticeable until the tooth decay is in advanced stages. Your dentist though (Dr. Stephen Mathews) is trained to notice if any additional dental work is required to keep your dental health tip top. That is why it is so important that you visit your dentist regularly. If you suspect a problem with any of your teeth, don’t try and solve it by stepping up your hygiene routine alone. See your dentist. It could be the difference between saving a tooth and loosing it. But if you still want to trouble shoot a problem, here are a few signs that you may need a root canal.


Out of all the symptoms detailed here, pain is by far the easiest to identify. Pain is not normal and clearly signals an issue. Normal activities, drinking and eating should not cause pain. A decaying tooth often inflames or stimulates nerves to react and move you to action. Antibiotics can usually fix infections if caught early, otherwise a root canal may be the only means to save a tooth.


Teeth that become chipped or cracked for any reason expose normally encapsulated blood vessels and nerves. This exposure makes tooth pulp susceptible to bacteria and infection. In time the infection can spread to the tooth root and into surrounding tissue causing pressure and pain. A root canal will prevent further infection and remove the pressure and bring relief. Your dentist will act quickly if he / she notices openings for bacterial infection and repair chipped or cracked teeth. Yet another reason to visit your dentist regularly.


If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity because of hot and cold food and drink than you are experiencing another symptom that could lead to a root canal. If simple sensitivity progresses to sharp and intense pain, it’s a true sign that nerves and blood vessels are damaged and or infected. In that situation your dentist may suggest a root canal to stop the sensitivity and pain. There may be other reasons for temporary tooth sensitivity. Therefore, don’t conclude right away that you are in need of a root canal. But if slight pressure or relatively insignificant temperature changes causes discomfort that lasts weeks or even months, then it may be a damaged root that is the cause, and that will not heal on its own. Get help from your dentist.


Tooth discoloration is also a sign of damage beneath the tooth surface. When nerve and blood vessel damage are obvious then a root canal is often the solution. Or at least a corrective measure to prevent further damage. No amount of brushing or mouthwash can correct deep tooth decay. A root canal is often the last effort before a crown is suggested.

Prevention the Best Cure

You’ve heard it said many times and I admit it’s been repeated in this blog that “prevention is the best cure” when it comes to avoiding root canals. Prevention being, a good oral hygiene regiment and visiting your dentist regularly. That being said, root canals are very common and with the right dentist they don’t have to be painful. Erbsville Dental in Waterloo can make the experience of having a root canal (or other dental procedures) a positive one. True, you may feal some minor discomfort when the freezing wears off, but most patients find this procedure brings them considerable long term relief.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Painful

Dr. Mathews has performed hundreds of root canals, examinations and cosmetic procedures for his patients who want a healthier, and more appealing smile. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms we talked about or have any questions about your or your family’s dental health don’t delay, call and make an appointment today!