What Are the Signs That Root Canal Therapy Is Needed?

Signs you may need root canal therapy include:


  1. Horrible tooth pain from chewing or pressure on the tooth.
  2. Lingering sensitivity or slow to go away pain from hot or cold temperatures.
  3. Discoloration (graying) of the tooth.
  4. Gum swelling and soreness.
  5. A lasting pimple or small elevation on the gums.A recurring pimple on the gums.


Root canal therapy is a procedure to repair and save a tooth that is severely decayed, injured, or infected. Root canal therapy is needed when the pulp which is made up of blood vessels and nerves in the tooth becomes infected or irreversibly damaged.


With root canal therapy, the pulp is cleaned out, and the inside of the tooth is disinfected and sealed. The public fear root canals because they have been misled to believe they are painful. A person only has to watch late night comedy or talk shows to hear references like “I’d rather give birth than have a root canal.” Or “I’d rather close my finger in a door than have a root canal.”


In reality, most people report that the procedure is not much different than the feeling experienced when having a filling. The pain felt in the time leading up to root canal work is usually more painful than the procedure. In fact, some root canals can be performed without any anesthesia when the tooth is infected or the pulp has been destroyed by bacteria.


In this case, I still recommend anesthesia to ease anxiety. Why Does the Pulp Need to Be Removed? When the pulp is damaged, it deteriorates, and bacteria begin to invade the pulp chamber. The rotting pulp remnants provide a food source for bacteria which causes infection or an abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the apex of the root of the tooth.


In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can spread from the tooth and cause: Swelling that may travel to areas of the face, neck, or head Bone loss around the tip of the root Drainage problems outward or further into the body from the root.


A hole can occur through the side of the jaw, with pus drainage through the gums or through the cheek into the skin. What Damages a Tooth's Pulp in the First Place? A tooth's pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected by deep decay, crowns, repeated fillings, large restorations, a crack or chip in the tooth, or an injury to the face or jaw.


If you are concerned about a tooth problem that may require root canal therapy or endodontic careDr. J K Schow, an endodontist in the Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon region can help you.