Blog Post

Signs That Indicate When Endodontic Treatment Is Necessary

Jul 13, 2021

By now, you may know that root canal therapy is the only treatment that can eliminate the pain from the infected root of a tooth. It is easy to confuse the cure with the cause because people commonly refer to something painful as “worse than a root canal.”

How can you know whether dental pain is due to a root canal infection? A cavity is caused by bacteria penetrating the outer enamel layer of a tooth and into the next protective layer, the dental. It can be painful, but not so bad as if the infection reaches the inner core of the tooth, the pulp, which consists of soft tissue, nerves, and blood vessels.

Some of the symptoms of a root canal infection:

  • Increased sensitivity to cold and hot. If you eat or drink anything cold or hot, your teeth may feel sensitive at first, but this should be relatively mild and over quickly. If it persists and feels more intense than usual, this is likely a sign that you have an infected root canal.
  • Pain when you touch the teeth or chew. If you lightly touch your teeth with your finger or a toothbrush and it feels painful, or you experience this when you chew normally, this is another classic symptom of an infected tooth root.
  • Pain after a professional cleaning. Sometimes your dental hygienist may cause discomfort in trying to remove stubborn tartar (hardened bacterial plaque), but this should subside afterwards with a little ibuprofen. If it continues, then you may be suffering from an underlying infection or condition inside the teeth.
  • Discolored teeth that aren’t simply stained. Consuming coffee, tea, or red wine, as well as strongly-colored foods and beverages like blueberries and sodas, can temporarily stain teeth. But if you brush shortly afterwards, the darkening effect should be mitigated. But if the discoloration is sudden or you can’t reduce it no matter how much you try, this could be due to a dark, dead root showing through.
  • Swelling of the gums around a tooth. Swelling or even drainage of the gums around a tooth is probably due to a bacterial infection, which may have even reached the tooth root. It needs to be diagnosed before it gets into the jawbone and eats it away, requiring a bone graft.
  • What appears to be a pimple on the gums around a tooth. If the gums around a tooth are inflamed, you might notice a tiny bump, an indicator of a root canal infection.
  • An abscess at the bottom of a tooth. If you see a collection of pus at the bottom of the visible part of a tooth, this is probably due to an infected root.

The good news is that an endodontist is a highly-trained specialist in eliminating the cause of the pain of a root canal infection, with a high rate of being able to save the tooth from having to be extracted. Call us today to set up an appointment for a diagnosis.