5 Signs that You May Need a Root Canal

If you have a tooth infection, it’s likely that you already know it. Tooth pain usually isn’t subtle, and may be a warning sign that you need a root canal. But pain
isn’t the only signal of a tooth in distress. In this post, Asmita Dharia, DDS, our caring dentist here at Marina Landing
Dentistry
in Alameda, California, explains more about how a root canal can fix many dental problems and tells you about some common signs that she looks for to indicate that you may need one soon.

What is a root canal?

When Dr. Dharia performs a pain-relieving root canal procedure, she removes bacteria and infection from the inner chamber of your tooth. While your tooth and gums are completely numb, she carefully removes the decayed pulp, thoroughly cleans the
canal, and reseals the tooth. You go home with a temporary crown over your tooth and return to our office in 2-3 weeks so Dr. Dharia can place a protective permanent crown.

Do you need a root canal?

Here are 5 telltale signs that you may need a root canal:

1. Pain

Not all pain means you’re heading for a root canal, but here are some of the forms it can take that mean you may need one:

  • Pain from eating or drinking hot or cold food or beverages
  • Pain from tapping, biting, or chewing
  • Pain that interrupts your sleep
  • Pain that shifts or intensifies with your movements
  • Pain that does not subside with painkillers

Dr. Dharia evaluates your pain in conjunction with your other symptoms and your X-rays to make a root canal diagnosis.

2. Discoloration

If your pearly white tooth suddenly or gradually gets grey or brown, it’s a sign that it may not be getting its vital blood supply due to an
infection in the pulp. A root canal can make your tooth healthy again.

3. Drainage

Your tooth infection may ooze, leak, or drain into your mouth. Drainage usually causes a bitter or foul taste in your mouth and gives you extremely bad breath.

4. Gum swelling and tenderness

Just as all pain doesn’t automatically mean you need a root canal, the same is true for swollen and tender gums. There may be another underlying cause. However, here are a few good indicators that it may be time for a root canal if the swelling
is:

  • Directly in front of the tooth
  • Persistent no matter what remedies you try
  • Accompanied by unusually bad breath
  • Due to an abscess that includes boils or pimples on your gums

5. Cracked or chipped tooth

If you have a cracked or broken tooth from an accident, eating hard food, or because of previous dental work, your nerve may be exposed, causing pain. The tooth is also more susceptible to infection.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, we urge you to come to our family-friendly practice for an evaluation. Call to set up your appointment today.

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