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4 Warning Signs You Need a Root Canal

Is your toothache more than just an ordinary pain? It could indicate there’s an infection inside the tooth, which may require a root canal

Our highly trained dental experts at Hometown Family Dental Centers are here to provide top-quality care. Root canals are a routine dental treatment and not something to dread. They can eliminate your toothache and save your tooth, and we have the expertise to ensure a pain-free procedure. 

So how do you know if you need a root canal?

Understanding root canals

Damaged nerve tissue or pulp inside the tooth allows bacteria to multiply in the pulp chamber. This can cause infection or an abscessed tooth, leading to the need for a root canal.

This common dental treatment can repair and save severely decayed or infected teeth. The process includes removing the nerve and pulp all the way down to the tooth’s roots, followed by cleaning and sealing the tooth's interior.

The warning signs

Root canals provide relief from severe tooth pain and help save your tooth. The key is to recognize the warning signs early to prevent further complications. Here are four telltale signs that you may need a root canal.

1. Severe tooth pain

One of the most noticeable signs that you might need a root canal is severe tooth pain, especially when eating or biting down on the area. This pain can vary from mild to intense, but what distinguishes it from ordinary toothache is its persistence. 

If you're experiencing such discomfort, it's high time to schedule a visit with your dentist. Ignoring this symptom can lead to more severe problems down the line, including the potential loss of the tooth.

2. Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold

Another common symptom that indicates a root canal may be necessary is prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold substances. If your teeth hurt significantly when you consume hot coffee or a cold ice cream, that's not normal.

This sensitivity may linger even after the hot or cold stimulus is removed. While tooth sensitivity can sometimes be due to other issues like gum disease or a cavity, persistent, severe sensitivity is often a sign of deeper problems that a root canal can address.

3. Swelling and tenderness in nearby gums

If you notice swelling or tenderness in the gums around the painful tooth, it could indicate a tooth infection that has spread to the surrounding tissues. 

This swelling can sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of warmth. It may be sporadic, coming and going over several weeks. Swelling in the gums is a clear signal that something is amiss, and you should have it evaluated by a professional as soon as possible.

4. Pimple on the gums

A recurring or persistent pimple on the gums, often filled with pus, is also known as a dental abscess. This is a clear sign of infection in the gum tissue or deep within the tooth itself. 

If it’s not treated, this infection can spread to other areas of your mouth or body, causing more severe health problems. If you notice such a pimple, it's crucial to seek dental attention right away.

Don’t delay treatment for tooth pain

These four warning signs aren’t definitive proof that you need a root canal, but they are strong indicators. Early intervention is key to saving your tooth and preventing further dental issues, so don't shrug off that toothache. It might be more than just a minor nuisance.

If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. You can call the office — we have locations in Fayetteville, Raeford, and Vass, North Carolina — or request an appointment online. We can diagnose the problem and determine the best course of action to alleviate your discomfort and protect your oral health.

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