How to Know if You Need a Root Canal?

Root canal treatment is a standard dental care procedure performed when a tooth becomes infected. This treatment is done to remove decay from the center and root of the tooth. If you’ve been experiencing dental issues, you may think you require root canal treatment, but there are specific ways to tell.

The initial signs that you need a root canal will include pain or sensitivity to food or drink temperatures. Swollen gums can also indicate tooth infection, as can tooth discoloration. These symptoms may lead to facial swelling and dealing with pus from the infection.

If you’re experiencing tooth issues and are wondering if you need a root canal, read on to find out more about how that manifests.

Signs that You Need a Root Canal

Dental issues have a range of symptoms and causes, but some will require getting a root canal treatment. You should always consult with your dental care specialist to make sure that this is the right choice.

If you’d like to be aware of how this might feel before contacting your dentist, these are some of the signs you may experience when a root canal is necessary:

  • You may feel pain when biting into food, or while chewing.
  • Your teeth may suffer from sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks.
  • The tooth you are having trouble with may become loose.
  • The gums around the tooth may get swollen.
  • You may have a persistent toothache that worsens when the tooth is touched.
  • You may have pus coming out of the infected tooth.
  • Your face may swell up, especially around your jaw.
  • The tooth may experience discoloration or darkening.

Causes Behind Needing a Root Canal

A root canal treatment will become necessary when a tooth becomes infected to the point of affecting the pulp and the root of the tooth. Once the pulp becomes infected, it will start to decay and will ultimately die. This will allow the cause of the infection to spread through the roots of the rest of the teeth.

Several causes might lead to needing a root canal treatment. The usual culprits are bacterial infections that will spread the longer they are left untreated. If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, this could also lead to an infection that requires a root canal.

Teeth will become more prone to decay and damage with time. This may increase the number of tooth procedures you get, which can raise the risk of damaging the structure of your teeth.

If you’ve had any crowns fitted, these may also cause issues with the structure and wear of your teeth. They may increase the likelihood of having to get a root canal, especially if they are in some way faulty.

No matter the cause that leads to requiring root canal treatment, you should always check whether you need one. When you start experiencing a toothache, it’s time to book a dental check-up.

How Does a Root Canal Work?

A root canal is a routine painless procedure. Your root canal specialist will give you a local anesthetic that will be applied in the area around the infected tooth. They will then proceed to remove the bacteria, which is the aim of the root canal treatment.

The specialist will clean up the decayed pulp and then disinfect the root of the tooth. The root canal will then be filled. The job will end with a crown or filling to seal the tooth. The dentist may recommend taking light painkillers if your mouth feels sore for a day or two.

Another available option is to extract the problem tooth and eliminate the risk of the infection spreading. This will also reduce the costs of the procedure, but it depends on the advice of your dentist and the location of the tooth.

What is Recovery from a Root Canal Treatment Like?

Once you have had a root canal treatment, you should make sure to take care of your teeth, especially in the days following it. Tough and crunchy foods should be avoided while your mouth heals, and you may experience some sensitivity for a few days.

How to Avoid Future Root Canals

To minimize the risk of needing a new root canal treatment, later on, there are some things you could consider doing:

  • You should practice rigorous dental hygiene to keep your teeth in the best condition.
  • Try to avoid sugary foods because they can very easily cause tooth decay.
  • Reduce the intake of caffeine-based beverages.
  • If you smoke, consider quitting for numerous health benefits, including protecting your teeth.


Knowing if you need a root canal will become apparent if you experience toothache and various other symptoms like temperature sensitivity or swollen gums. Not getting a root canal treatment in time can lead to worse problems in the future. You should always check with a Highland Park dentist when in doubt.

If you live in the New Jersey, New York City area, and think Root Canal sounds right for you, Lasting Smiles of Highland Park’s Dr. Ruma Anand has extensive experience and knowledge in the field of Invisalign. Call today to make your appointment.