Five Signs You Need a Root Canal

Root Canal

Heeding the signs you need a root canal could protect your body from long-term health complications. Unattended tooth problems can result in bacterial infections in additional teeth or other parts of the face like the gums and sinuses. At the very least, ignoring an infection will result in the permanent removal of the affected tooth.

What’s the Purpose of a Root Canal?

The procedure’s primary goal is to save badly infected teeth before they die completely. In the case of severe tooth infections, the inner part of the tooth – called the pulp – and the adjacent nerve systems require removal. The tooth’s interior is thoroughly cleaned and sealed, removing bacteria to prevent abscesses. When teeth undergo a root canal, they can remain in the jaw, as the nerve and pulp are not required for them to stay healthy and function. If you are concerned your teeth might need a root canal, check to see if they exhibit any of the following signs.


Any instance of tooth pain warrants a dental examination. Serious infections may not always cause debilitating pain. In some cases, the tooth might only hurt when used to chew, or it may throb throughout the day and night, interrupting sleep and radiating through the jaw.


If a tooth is extremely sensitive to hot or cold food and beverages, it may signify nerve disturbance from an infection, especially if the sensitivity lingers after the hot or cold substance is no longer present.

Damaged Tooth

When teeth are broken, cracked or chipped, a root canal may be recommended to ward off future problems. Damaged teeth are at a greater risk of infection because bacteria can enter the tooth’s interior much easier. A darkening tooth could be a latent sign of damage.


Infected teeth may trigger mouth inflammation, including boils and sores on gums. If the sore is located where the tooth meets the gum, this could mean gum disease rather than an infection. Sores located farther away from the visible part of the tooth, more toward where the tooth’s root is located beneath the gum, are evidence of inner infection. A pimple may also form in the same area and leak pus. Inflammation is not only limited to the mouth. The neck itself and inner lymph nodes may be affected, along with the cheeks and face.

Deep Cavities

If the dentist identifies a deep cavity on a tooth that reaches the pulp and nerves, he or she may recommend a root canal even if a more serious infection has not yet appeared.

For a complete examination and professional recommendations on the need for root canals, contact Oak Hills Dentistry. If your teeth are showing any of the signs you need a root canal, immediate dental care cannot wait.