Do You Need A Root Canal? 5 Warning Symptoms

by | Feb 13, 2024 | Resources

Dealing with a toothache that just won’t quit? Or maybe you find yourself wincing when you sip hot coffee or dig into a bowl of cold ice cream. These could be telltale signs that the nerves inside your tooth are crying out for help, possibly indicating that you may need a root canal. Spotting these early signs of an upset tooth may mean the difference between an easy fix filling or a more complicated dental issue down the line.

What is a root canal?

Inside every tooth, there’s a space filled with soft tissue—this is called the dental pulp. It contains nerves and blood vessels and lives right in the heart of your tooth, stretching from the crown down to the roots. When this pulp becomes infected or damaged, a root canal treatment swoops in to save the day by taking out this troubled tissue. Once it’s gone, your dentist cleans up the area, sterilises it, fills it, and seals it to try and prevent any further trouble. After all that’s done, they may place a filling or crown on top so you can chew without worry.

What are the symptoms to look for if I need a root canal?

The surest way to figure out if you need one is to see your dentist. However, keeping an eye out for these symptoms could give you an early heads-up:

1. Consistent pain

A persistent ache in your tooth should never be ignored. It might come and go, but if it keeps returning—and especially if it feels like a deep-seated throbbing pain or the pan spreads to other areas like your jaw or face—it’s time for a visit to your dentist.

Remember though: Tooth pain doesn’t always mean root canal trouble. Gum disease, cavities, sinus infections, or even a cracked filling could also be the culprit.

2. Sensitivity to hot and cold

If temperature extremes make you jump with pain—or if that ache hangs around after every hot meal or cold treat—it could signal damaged nerves and blood vessels crying out for help.

Persistent sensitivity is not something to brush off; it may point toward deeper issues that might require professional attention. It’s important to note that tooth sensitivity can be caused by other factors too, so it’s important to talk to your dentist to get to the root of the problem.

3. Discolouration of the tooth

Have you noticed one of your teeth looking a bit different in colour? Maybe it’s taken on a greyish hue. This discolouration might be due to an infection in the dental pulp, which may mean the tooth needs a root canal treatment to remove the infection.

Keep in mind that other factors can cause changes in tooth colour too, but it’s best to play it safe and consult your dentist if you notice such changes.

4. Swollen gums

Swelling around a particular tooth could point to problems that extend beneath the surface. The swelling may come and go and could be painless or tender to the touch. Some patients even notice a small bump, similar to a pimple, on their gums. This can be a sign that an infection is present. Resolving a tooth infection may require a root canal or other treatment.

5. Pain when Eating or touching the tooth

If touching your tooth or biting down sends you through the roof with pain, this could indicate a significant crack, decay, or nerve damage. Any of these issues might require root canal therapy. You should see your dentist as soon as possible if you’re experiencing persistent sensitivity or pain.

What can you expect during root canal treatment?

Root canal therapy is usually spread over a couple of visits.

Your dental professional will:

– Take X-rays to assess the situation.
– Numb up the affected area so you’re comfortable.
– Isolate the tooth with a protective sheet called a dental or rubber dam.
– Create an opening in your tooth to remove the troubled pulp.
– Clean out and disinfect the inner canals.
– Place a temporary filling in the tooth in between appointments to keep it sealed.

Once everything’s clean and ready, your dentist will fill those canals with gutta percha—a sterile material—and finish off by sealing your tooth with either a filling or crown to protect it against future infections.

Root canal treatment at Beaches Dental Mona Vale

At Beaches Dental Mona Vale, we understand that words like ‘root canal’ can bring about some anxiety. But rest assured, our goal is to make the process as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Our experienced team ensures that if you do need this treatment, it will be effective, efficient, and done with utmost care. If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs—or have any other concerns about your dental health—we encourage you to reach out to us. You can call us directly on (02) 9997 8822 or by submitting the form on our contact page here.

Let’s keep that smile of yours bright and pain-free!