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How Do You Know if You Need a Root Canal? A Guide on the Symptoms

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More than 15 million Americans undergo a root canal procedure every year.

You might be among the number of people with an achy tooth, wondering, “How do you know if you need a root canal?”

The pain’s only part of it — there is a range of root canal symptoms that tell you it’s time for a dental procedure.

Here are six of the signs for which you should look.

  1. Non-Stop Pain

We already touched on the fact that you’ll know you need a root canal if you’re in pain — but it’s not just any old toothache.

Instead, pre-root canal pain will flare up as you partake in your daily activities. If eating or drinking hurts, for instance, it could be time to see a dentist.

  1. Sensitivity

On that note, your tooth in question could flare up when you nosh on cold or hot foods. The same goes for low- or high-temp beverages.

The pain you feel could range from a dull, lingering ache to something sharper. Either way, temperature-related pain could indicate that you have an infected or broken nerve or blood vessel. And, with that, it’s time for a root canal.

  1. Chips or Cracks 

Perhaps you’ve noticed a chip or crack in your tooth. Such damage should have inspired you to call a dentist long ago. If you haven’t, your compromised tooth could cause you to have a root canal down the line.

An opening in your tooth can expose the underlying nerves, raising the risk of infection. And, once that happens, you’ll need a root canal to stop the infection from spreading — and end the pain you’re feeling.

  1. Swollen Gums

You might just be flossing your teeth too hard. Or, you have swollen gums because of a tooth infection in need of a root canal.

Again, your dentist can determine the cause of tooth and gum inflammation. Remedying the infected nerve will reduce swelling in your gums — and mute any other pain you’re feeling, too.

  1. Discoloration

Sometimes, your teeth become discolored because of the foods you eat and the drinks you sip. If this is the case, you can usually remove stains with a whitening regimen.

However, not every stain will disappear with an at-home whitening kit. Deeper discoloration could stem from nerve damage. You can restore your smile to a pearly shine with a root canal, though.

  1. Loose Teeth

If you feel a tooth wiggling in your mouth, it might not trigger you to think, “Do I need a root canal?” But loose-feeling teeth can be a sign that you have nerve or blood vessel damage.

Nerve damage causes acid to form, which can weaken the bone that holds your tooth in place. So, once it starts softening, it may feel like the affected tooth is moving around.

Such a sensation would affect one tooth only. If you feel as though multiple teeth can move, then you’re dealing with something that a root canal can’t remedy.

How Do You Know If You Need a Root Canal? 

Hopefully, now you know the answer to that question. How do you know if you need a root canal? Your teeth will tell you.

So, listen to your body and make an appointment with your dentist today. Get back to smiling big and showing off your healthy teeth!

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