Do I need a Root Canal? Signs, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

A root canal can save a tooth that is severely damaged or infected. The dental treatment can help you to avoid more painful and costly treatments down the road. Knowing the signs that indicate you need one will help you to call the dentist promptly. You also need to know the diagnostic process and why it is vital to detect the need for a root canal early. Continue reading to learn more about the signs and symptoms that indicate that you need a root canal.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

A root canal involves treating pulp damage or an infection of your tooth. When either of these issues is present, there are specific signs and symptoms that you might experience. The exact symptoms you experience and their severity depend on the affected tooth and the severity of the damage or infection. The following are symptoms that you might need a root canal:

  • Prolonged cold and hot sensitivity
  • Severe toothache
  • Tender and swollen gums
  • Pimple on your gums (indicates an abscess)
  • Radiating pain
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Prolonged and painful response to pressure
  • Bad breath or taste in your mouth
  • Cheek or facial swelling

The Diagnostic Process

Once you get to your dentist’s office, they will review your dental and medical history, assess your symptoms, and do a clinical examination. During this part of the diagnostic process, they will be able to see things like swelling, signs of abscess or decay, and tooth discoloration.

To assess the pain response of your tooth, your dentist might tap on your tooth (percussion) or apply pressure to the tissues surrounding it (palpation). The pain response can help the dentist determine if there is a dental pulp issue. Pulp vitality testing can also be helpful. This involves either an electric pulp tester or cold stimulus to see if the response is either absent or diminished, which could indicate damage to the pulp.

X-rays are standard during the diagnostic process. They let the dentist look at the surrounding bones, the roots in your tooth, and other internal structures. This will help your dentist determine if pulp damage or an infection is present.

The Importance of Timely Intervention

Everyone should know the signs and symptoms indicating that they may need a root canal. This will help you to get the treatment promptly to help promote the most favorable outcome.

Pulp damage or infection can cause pain. Left untreated, the pain can continue and could even get worse over time. The infection could also spread and cause an abscess. There is potential for the infection to go to other parts of the head and face, too. When an abscess is present, you might experience facial swelling. In the most severe cases, tooth loss is possible.

Some evidence shows that there could be a link between tooth abscesses, similar oral infections, and health issues elsewhere in the body. For example, there is the potential for cardiovascular health issues as a result of an untreated abscess.

Ignoring the need for a root canal could lead to more severe issues, such as a tooth abscess. Please note the signs and symptoms so you know when it is time to schedule your root canal.

Contact Us

If you suspect you might need a root canal, contact us immediately to schedule an appointment. Fennell, Yoxthimer, and Associates DDS are here to help those with dental issues in the Cincinnati, OH, area.

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