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It can be difficult to tell if a tooth requires a root canal because many of the symptoms can only be detected by a dentist. This is why it’s important to visit your dentist on a regular basis.

Root canals are used to save teeth that have become badly decayed or infected. When the pulp of the tooth, which is made up of blood vessels and nerves, is damaged, it must be extracted and the inside of the tooth cleaned and sealed.

Your dentist will look for the signs, whether during a routine dental exam and cleaning or in the event of a dental emergency. There are several causes and warning signs that you may need a root canal sooner rather than later.

Persistent Pain

Constant pain is one of the signs that you may require a root canal. This would be pain that bothers you all of the time or that goes away but returns.

You may experience pain in areas other than your tooth, such as your:

  • Jaw
  • Face
  • Other teeth
  • Deep within the bone of your tooth

Tooth pain can indicate a variety of problems, including:

  • Damaged filling
  • Cavity
  • Pain transferred from a sinus infection
  • An infected impacted tooth
  • Gum disease

If you experience sudden pain, it’s likely that you have an infected or dead tooth that requires a root canal.

Are there any positions where your gums or teeth hurt the most? Is there pressure on your teeth and face when you lie down or bend down? This could be root canal discomfort. In any case, if you are experiencing persistent pain, you should consult your dentist.

Tooth Discolouration

A discoloured tooth is usually the result of poor hygiene or food and drink staining, but it can also be caused by nerve damage beneath the tooth's surface. Trauma to the tooth or breakdown of the internal tissue can damage the roots and cause the tooth to appear grayish-black. 

If the root of your tooth is damaged, your dentist will most likely recommend a root canal to remove it.

A male dentist and female dental hygienist preparing to do a root canal on the patients teeth

Swollen Gums

Swollen gums near a painful tooth can indicate a problem that necessitates a root canal. The swelling may be intermittent. It may also be tender to the touch. 

Swelling typically indicates that blood flow between your jaw's vessels and the pulp chambers of your teeth is disrupted. If the vein junctions are blocked by infection, the swelling will become more noticeable as you feel it in your mouth and along the point where your gums meet your jaw.

Pimples on Your Gums

Pimples on your gums indicate the leakage of infected fluids into the gum tissues from near the root. If you see these, it could be an advanced form of the infection, such as an abscess. A root canal may be your only option for preventing the infection from spreading.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is another common indication that you may require a root canal. This is a problem if your tooth aches when you drink hot drinks like coffee or tea. What begins as a dull ache can quickly turn into a sharp, intense pain.

Cold foods and drinks can also be extremely painful for people who have an infected tooth. Damaged blood vessels and nerve endings may be to blame when you consume ice and avoid crunching on one side of your mouth to avoid a painful tooth.

Your dentist may determine that a root canal is required to treat your sensitive tooth.

Loose Teeth

When you have an infected tooth, it may feel looser than your other teeth. This can be caused by factors other than pulpal necrosis (nerve death), but it can be an indication that a root canal is needed. Acidic waste products from nerve death can soften the bone around a dying tooth's root, causing it to move.

Cracked or Chipped Tooth

When a tooth cracks or chips, the nerves beneath the surface of the tooth can become exposed and infected. A root canal may be required to prevent further infection and pain if left untreated.

If you have a broken tooth, you should see your dentist right away to ensure that it’s repaired before things get worse.

Even if you injure a tooth but it doesn’t chip or crack, the injury may still cause nerve damage. The nerve can become inflamed, resulting in pain and sensitivity that may necessitate root canal treatment.

Talk to Your Dentist about a Root Canal

Keeping up with your oral hygiene at home and scheduling regular dentist appointments at least twice a year is a good way to maintain your oral health. An infection in the pulp and root of your tooth can cause discomfort and pain.

If you have persistent tooth pain or other symptoms, make an appointment with SkyPointe Dental for a professional diagnosis.

SkyPointe Dental | Calgary NE | Dentist | Dental Clinic | Dental Office | Dental Practice

ADDRESS
6004 Country Hills Blvd NE, #1510, Calgary, AB T3N 1T8

PHONE
(403) 475-1222

HOURS
Tue, Wed & Thu: 12pm – 8pm | Fri: 9am – 5pm | Sat: 9am - 5pm | Sun & Holidays: Closed

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