Signs You May Need a Root Canal

Signs you need a root canal may include gum inflammation, gum abscesses, a toothache, and facial swelling. Any of these symptoms should be taken serious and should be addressed as soon as possible. At Davey Crockett Dentistry, located in Richmond, VA, your health and comfort are our top priorities. With our careful techniques, your procedure will be gentler than you may ever have believed possible. Dr. William Davey Crockett offers low-level sedation at no additional charge to keep you comfortable during your procedure. We also have an in-house ceramist who can craft a custom crown to complete your procedure.

How Do I Know I Need a Root Canal?

Dental infections are the most common reasons dentists recommend root canal therapy. An infection develops when a cavity progresses to the pulp, or inner tissue of the tooth. Often, a dental infection will cause:

  • Tooth pain and sensitivity that becomes more prominent when eating and applying pressure to that area.
  • The teeth to become more sensitive, with periods of prolonged pain, especially after the consumption of hot and cold beverages. 
  • An infection called a gum abscess, which may occur when food gets trapped between the gum and the tooth, causing that area to become infected.
  • Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, which can be a sign of a more concerning and severe underlying health issue.
  • Pain to radiate from an infected molar to the upper jaw and into the area of around your ears. 
  • A darkening and discoloration of the infected tooth. 

Sometimes, however, a dental infection will have no discernable symptoms. That is one reason why regular six-month exams are so important. With regular checkups, your dentist can treat a dental infection before it completely destroys your tooth.

It may not always be possible to pinpoint the exact location of the infected tooth...because it may be referred, meaning that the tooth causing the most pain may not be the primary source of the pain.

Types of Pain

Not all types of pain associated with a root canal will be the same, and not all teeth requiring a root canal will have the associated pain. However, when patients do experience pain or discomfort, it can range from a mild, dull ache to severe and shooting pain. Simple movements like standing up, bending over, or changing your posture can cause the discomfort to lessen or intensify. Patients may experience transient pain, which means that the pain and discomfort may be intermittent, or they may experience a more persistent and continuous pain, in which the symptoms never fully disappear. 

root canal

Locating the Infected Tooth

It may not always be possible to pinpoint the exact location of the infected tooth. The majority of the time a patient will be able to locate the general area in which the pain is emanating from, but the pain may be referred, meaning that the tooth causing the most pain may not be the primary source of the pain. In some severe cases, depending on the location of the tooth, patients may experience swelling and pain in the face and neck.

Schedule a Root Canal Treatment Today

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, we can help you treat your infected tooth through root canal therapy. To schedule an appointment at our office, please send us a message, or give us a call at (804) 282-2990.