4 Warning Signs You Need a Root Canal

Nov 02, 2023

A root canal is a dental procedure that’s necessary to clean out decay from an infected tooth.

Your tooth is made up of three different layers. The top portion is the protective layer called enamel, the second layer is dentin, and the inner part is the soft core that extends all the way to your jawbone. This inner core holds dental pulp which contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues.

If decay is able to enter that innermost portion, either due to deep tooth decay or a large crack in your tooth, the dental pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected, leading to severe tooth pain. So, a root canal goes in and cleans out all that decay to give you relief without removing the affected tooth.

Because root canals are necessary to not only preserve your tooth but also save you from further oral health complications, our team led by Laura Llanos, DMD, at Llanos Dental Group located in Miami Lakes, Florida, wants you to recognize the signs that you may need one.

1. Persistent tooth pain

Constant dental pain is a pretty good indicator that you may need a root canal, especially if that pain is radiating to your face, other teeth, or your jaw. You might even have increased pain when you put any sort of pressure on the affected tooth. It’s possible that your pain might be constant or that it goes away sometimes but always comes back.

While a toothache doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll need a root canal, it’s a good indicator that something may be wrong and your tooth needs to be examined. 

2. Increased temperature sensitivity

If you notice that your tooth hurts or becomes sensitive whenever you eat or drink something especially hot or cold, it may indicate that your nerves are damaged or infected. This sensitivity can feel like a sharp pain or a dull ache and can last long after you’ve finished eating and drinking. 

If this is the case for you, a root canal may be in your near future.

3. Tooth discoloration

When there’s an infection in your tooth pulp, the decay that’s occurring can cause your tooth to lose blood supply and the pulp may start dying. You may then notice that the front of your tooth starts to turn a grayish black hue.

It’s possible for tooth discoloration to occur for other reasons, but it’s still wise to have your tooth checked out in case you do need a root canal.

4. Swollen gums

If you do have an infected tooth, pus starts to gather in that area, causing your gums — and even your jaw — to swell up. The swelling can come and go and it may cause the area around your tooth to become very painful to the touch.

In addition to swelling, you may also have pimples or boils that start to form along your gums. If pus starts to seep out of those, you can start to have a foul taste in your mouth along with bad breath.

If you resonate with any of these signs of an infected tooth, it’s possible that you need a root canal, and it’s vital that you get examined quickly to avoid losing your tooth altogether. 

To schedule an appointment to determine whether you need a root canal, contact our team by giving us a call at 305-556-0528 or by booking online today.