Getting To The Root Of The Problem: 4 Signs You May Need A Root Canal

Posted on: 16 September 2016


Proper oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist are key tasks to protect the underlying health and look of your smile. Unfortunately, certain dental conditions can still develop – even when you're caring for your mouth, teeth, and gums. An estimated 41,000 root canals are performed every day in the United States, so it is a common procedure that you may need at one point in time. While it is a popular treatment, you may not be familiar with the reasons behind a root canal. If you are experiencing one or more of the following signs, it is time to get down to the root of your dental problem and undergo a root canal treatment.


Tooth pain is the most common sign that signifies the need for root canal therapy. The severity of pain varies from person to person, but you may experience mild to severe aches in and around the tooth and gums during the day and while you try to sleep. Some people will only experience pain while eating, since biting down on the tooth can cause the pain to be more prominent. Intense pain while eating hot and cold foods may also occur.

If you are experiencing this pain, contact your dentist immediately. In most cases, a series of x-rays will be necessary to determine the key location of your pain before removing infected pulp during the root canal procedure.


When an infection develops in the root of your tooth, a pocket of pus will form on the affected gums. This pocket will look similar to a small, red pimple. Touching this tender, pimple-like bump will be painful, so eating and brushing your teeth can be difficult. Known as an abscess, this bump is another common sign that you will need a root canal treatment.

Draining the abscess will be necessary before performing the root canal treatment to remove the infected pulp from your tooth and roots. This will most likely save your tooth, but a complete extraction may be necessary if you have a more severe abscess.


Cavities and tooth decay are also common signs of a possible infection, which may require root canal therapy. Small black dots on your tooth are early signs of a cavity, which can quickly spread into a more involved form of tooth decay. Visiting your dentist for routine exams is smart to prevent the cavities from decaying your teeth.

If you notice small black spots or larger brown or black stains on your teeth, you may need a root canal to save your decaying tooth.


If you suffered some sort of trauma to the head, jaw, or mouth, one or more teeth may have been affected.

Car accidents, contact sports, or other activities that can be traumatic to your mouth may sever the root of one or more teeth. This may dislodge your tooth, which you will notice. However, your tooth may remain intact, but the trauma may have fractured the root.

If possible, visit your dentist immediately following a traumatic injury to your mouth. Dentists will use x-rays to check for underlying fractures. If the tooth has been moved deeper into its socket or has been moved sideways, your dentist can reposition and stabilize the tooth. If the tooth has been completely knocked out, your dentist may be able to reattach the tooth.

Certain injuries may cause the tooth pulp to be exposed. This can be very painful, requiring efficient root canal therapy to remove any debris in the tooth pulp before an infection develops.

Root canal treatments are common procedures, but most people do not realize they have a need for one. With this guide, you will understand the signs that you need to get to the root of your dental issue using a root canal treatment. For more information, talk to a dentist like Samuel D Knight, DDS.