Why Do You Need A Root Canal Treatment? Signs To Look Out For

When do you need a root canal? This article has oral signs and symptoms that indicate the need for this dental treatment.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Mar 24, 2022 16:09 IST
Why Do You Need A Root Canal Treatment? Signs To Look Out For

There are numerous dental treatments performed to save our teeth and root canal treatment is one of them. This is probably the last resort to save an ailing tooth but you can find out if you need a root canal treatment before your dentist tells. Yes, this is possible if you take a close look at oral symptoms. In this article, Dr. N Vasudev Ballal, Professor, Department Of Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal shares insight on why do you need a root canal.

What is root canal treatment?

The root canal is a dental treatment used to repair a decayed or infected tooth by removing your dental pulp and root decay. It is performed when the soft inner core of a tooth becomes inflamed or infected. A tooth has three layers; the enamel layer on the outside, a layer of dentin, and a softcore containing the pulp, composed of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. In most cases, the treatment is performed by a general dentist or endodontist while the patient is under local anaesthesia. 

Let's get to know the various signs and symptoms that tell you a root canal is needed!

When root canal is needed

What signs and symptoms tell you a root canal is needed? Scroll down to find out when you might need a root canal treatment.

root canal treatment

Also Read: Sweet Tooth Giving You Toothache? Get Respite With These Home Remedies

Constant excruciating pain 

Although any pain in your teeth can be dangerous and should be shared with your dentist, specific kinds of pain can hint towards need of root canal treatment. For instance, a sudden pain that hits at a certain point or if a particular position like laying down or bending down makes your gums hurt a lot can be a sign that you have an infected or dead tooth. This is likely to signify root canal pain which may be felt deep in the bone of your tooth, face, jaw, or in other teeth. The pain can continue all the time, or it might get better from time to time, but it will always return. Some other possibilities of tooth pain can be gum disease, cavity, damaged filling, or sinus infection. Even though these problems will not require a root canal treatment, it is necessary to get diagnosed and treated with your doctor, if the pain is persistent. Regular brushing and flossing promotes dental health.

Sensitivity to heat and cold 

root canal treatment

Do you feel a painful sensation when you drink a cup of hot coffee? Or does eating ice cream make your teeth feel sensitive? The sensitivity can feel like a long-lasting sharp ache, and you may require a root canal if this pain continues for an extended period of time, even after you are done eating or drinking. This sensitivity indicates that your teeth' blood vessels and nerves may be infected or damaged.

Also Read: 5 Stages Of Root Canal Treatment & The Correct Procedure

Swollen gums

Swollen gums near the infected tooth can signify the need for a root canal. The swollen part becomes extremely tender and painful to touch. While the swelling may get better, the area will remain sensitive. In addition to this, you may also observe small pimples on your gum, known as gum boil, parulis, or abscess. Since the pimple may also ooze out pus from infection, it often gives an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Sometimes flossing or brushing too hard can also lead to inflamed gums. Still, it is always recommended to consult a doctor and get diagnosed not to delay any necessary treatment.

root canal treatment

Discoloration of the tooth

A decayed or infected tooth can cause your tooth to become discoloured, signalling towards a root canal treatment. The trauma that the tooth faces damages the roots and gives the tooth a greyish-black appearance. This discoloration is more prominent in the front teeth. While there are other possible causes for tooth discoloration, it's always advisable to visit a dentist if you start noticing a change in the colour of your teeth. 

Also Read: Do You Have Swollen Gums? Here Are Some Natural Ways To Get Aid


While the treatment is extremely common, it is avoided by most people as they assume it to be painful. Some other risks like losing the tooth and developing an abscess at the root of the tooth also play a significant factor in people fearing the treatment. One should know that it is much more painful to continue with a damaged tooth than to experience the root canal treatment. As the anaesthesia starts to wear off, you will continue to feel minor aches and sensitivity during the recovery process. The best thing you can do is schedule an appointment with your doctor and get tested.

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