When Is a Root Canal Necessary?

If you have been to the dentist's office, you have probably heard about a root canal. Fortunately, you never have to have the procedure. You will usually need the procedure if the interior of your tooth is damaged. The primary goal of the procedure is to save your tooth instead of having it extracted. 

Teeth comprise several layers that help maintain the tooth's integrity. The top layer is the protective layer necessary for chewing. The middle layer is the dentine, the supportive structure of the tooth and the second hardest in the body after enamel. The last layer at the center is the pulp, which has the nerves and blood vessels.


What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is when the dentist removes the pulp from your tooth. The main reason they would remove the pulp is because of damage or decay. When your tooth pulp is damaged or decaying, it can lead to losing the whole tooth. The root canal, then, is a way to save your natural teeth and maintain your oral integrity. 

After a root canal, the dentist usually disinfects the cavity. They then fill the empty roots to prevent food particles from falling in. After that, they seal the tooth's top to prevent further damage or decay. Here are several signs that can show that you need a root canal 


What Are the Signs You Need a Root Canal?


Persistent Pain

If you have persistent pain in your tooth that does not fade away, it could signify that you need a root canal. Pain that keeps recurring is also a sign you have an issue with your tooth. Tooth pain is one of the most impactful and harrowing experiences. Seeing a dentist is always a good move if you have pain that does not disappear.

Tooth pain may also occur due to other issues like:


  • Cavities

  • Gingivitis

  • Damaged filling

  • Pain from a sinus infection

  • Infection of an impacted tooth


Tooth Sensitivity

If your teeth hurt when you take hot or cold food or drinks, it may signify that you need the procedure. Tooth sensitivity usually feels like a sharp pain or a dull ache. If the pain lingers even after you have stopped eating or drinking the things that caused it, you may need a root canal.



If you have an infection in your tooth pulp, your tooth can become discolored. Common reasons for this are dental trauma or internal tissue breakdown. These all lead to your tooth having a black-grayish appearance. You must see a dentist as soon as possible when you notice this. 


Swollen Gums

If your tooth has an internal issue or is infected, the gums around it can swell up. The swelling may be tender or have no response to touch. Swollen gums may result from dead pulp tissues, which have acidic products. You could also develop a parulis, abscess, or gum boil. All these are signs that you may need a root canal.

For more on when a root canal is necessary, visit Clarity Dental Center for Implant and Family Dentistry in Federal Way, Washington State. Call (253) 799-1490 to book an appointment today.

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