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Root Canal Warning Signs: When to Seek Professional Dental Care

Root canals

Have you noticed a sharp, piercing pain concentrated around your gum line? It could be a sign you need a root canal treatment – but how do you know if you need a root canal for sure?

When it comes to our oral health, prevention is often key. However, when cavities and decay go too far and penetrate the inner layers of the tooth, one of the best chances of saving your tooth is root canal treatment. This procedure can help preserve your natural tooth rather than replace it with an artificial one.

If you are experiencing any swelling or sensitivity in your mouth and suspect that you may need root canal therapy, it is important that you get the right diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. To help you identify when it’s time to call the dentist for root canal treatment, here’s what you need to know about how to determine if a root canal is necessary.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure designed to remove infected or decayed soft tissue from the inside of a tooth. The dentist removes the damaged dental pulp, which contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. During the procedure, the damaged tissue is replaced with an inert material to prevent further decay or infection. In some cases, a tooth crown will be placed over the tooth after root canal treatment in order to restore its strength and function. The whole procedure is done under local anesthetic, so you won’t feel any pain during the operation.

The Root Canal Procedure

The procedure involves removing the damaged or infected pulp from the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the tooth, and then filling and sealing it. Here is a step-by-step explanation of the root canal procedure:

  1. Examination and Preparation: Before starting the procedure, the root canal specialist will first examine the tooth and take dental X-rays to determine the extent of the tooth damage or infection. The area around the tooth is numbed with local anesthesia, and a rubber dam is placed to isolate the tooth and keep it dry.
  2. Removal of Damaged or Infected Pulp: The dentist will then create an opening in the tooth and use small instruments to remove the damaged or infected tooth pulp from the canals of the tooth. The canals are cleaned and shaped to prepare for filling.
  3. Filling and Sealing: Once the canals have been cleaned and shaped, they are filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The opening in the tooth is sealed with a temporary filling or crown. In some cases, a permanent crown or filling may be placed later to protect and restore the tooth’s function.

After the root canal procedure, the tooth may be sore for a few days, and your dentist may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers. The dentist will provide instructions on how to care for the tooth and may recommend follow-up appointments to monitor the tooth’s healing. With proper care, a tooth that has undergone a root canal procedure can last a lifetime.

How To Know If You Need a Root Canal Treatment?

If you are experiencing any of these common signs or symptoms, you may need root canal treatment:

  • Severe tooth pain may be accompanied by swelling or sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
  • Severe pain when biting or chewing food, especially in a specific tooth.
  • A pimple-like bump on the gum near the affected tooth.
  • Darkening of the tooth or tooth discoloration.
  • Facial swelling or tenderness in the gums near the affected tooth.
  • Prolonged tooth sensitivity to hot and cold food or drink even after the stimulus is removed.
  • A loose or wobbly tooth.

If you are experiencing any of these warning signs or symptoms, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible. Delaying this endodontic treatment may lead to more serious complications, such as abscesses, bone loss, or the need for tooth extraction. A dental professional can evaluate your symptoms and determine if root canal treatment is necessary to save your tooth and alleviate your pain.

Causes of Dental Damage

Dental damage can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Infected Tooth

An infected tooth occurs when bacteria builds up inside the pulp of the tooth. This can happen due to several reasons, including deep decay, gum disease, or trauma to the tooth. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding tissues and cause abscesses, bone loss, or nerve damage.


Trauma to the mouth or face can cause dental damage, including chipping, cracking, or knocking out teeth. Common causes of dental trauma include sports injuries, falls or accidents, or biting down on something hard that damages your entire tooth.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of dental damage. It occurs when plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth, breaks down the tooth’s enamel and exposes the underlying dentin. This can lead to cavities, which, if left untreated, can lead to more severe dental damage and damage to adjacent teeth.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. It is caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums, which leads to inflammation and eventual damage to the gums and bones that support the teeth.

Contact Southeastern Dental Center for Endodontic Therapy

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms or causes listed above and believe that you may need root canal treatment, it is important to contact a dental professional as soon as possible. At Southeastern Dental Center, we provide endodontic therapy to restore your oral health and alleviate your pain. Our experienced team of dental professionals will assess your case and determine the best course of action for your unique situation.

Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.