How Do You Know If You Need A Root Canal?

How Do You Know If You Need A Root Canal?

TeamRoot Canal Treatment

A root canal is a procedure named after the part of the tooth it treats. The root canal is the chamber at the center of a tooth that begins at the base of the crown and extends into the root. It contains dental pulp, soft tissue made up of blood vessels that supply blood to the tooth and nerves. 

Root canal treatment can save an at-risk or infected tooth in many cases, allowing it to remain in place rather than pulling it. How do you know if you need a root canal? Here are the common signs and symptoms.


Pain coming from a specific tooth or area of your mouth may indicate an infection. If bacteria finds a way into the root canal it can infect the dental pulp. A deep cavity or a crack in a tooth could provide an avenue for saliva and bacteria to get in. An infected tooth requires a root canal, which involves removal and replacement of the dental pulp. The tooth is treated and then fitted with a crown to prevent future infection. 

Extreme Sensitivity

A tooth that is extremely sensitive to cold, heat, and/or sugar indicates exposure of the nerves, which could lead to an infection. There may be a large cavity or a crack in the enamel that could make the nerves more sensitive to aggravators. In this case, a root canal can prevent an infection from developing in a tooth. 

Cracked Tooth 

If you have a cracked or broken tooth, the most likely treatment will be a root canal and crown. A crack or a fracture could expose the dental pulp, putting the tooth at a high risk of infection. It also weakens the tooth structure, which is why a dental crown will need to be placed over the tooth to protect the remaining tooth material. 

Discolored Tooth 

Do you have a single tooth that is a different color from the rest? It may look gray or brown from the inside, which indicates damage to the dental pulp. The dental pulp contains blood vessels that sustain the tooth as it grows. An infection or injury can cause bleeding inside the tooth, which causes the discoloration. The tooth will most likely need a root canal and may also need a crown. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals 

Does a root canal hurt? 

Local anesthesia is used to numb the nerves before a root canal is performed. You won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure and the numbness will wear off within an hour afterwards in most cases.  

Why do I need a crown after a root canal?

A tooth that needs a root canal has most likely sustained enough damage that a crown is necessary. Even if the natural tooth is mostly intact, a crown will protect it and help to prevent further damage or infection. 

How To Know For Sure? See Your Dentist 

If you have any of the above signs that you may need a root canal, see your dentist as soon as possible. Prompt treatment could mean the difference between saving the tooth and having it extracted. Glassman Dental Care provides root canal treatment in emergency and non-emergency situations. We will assess the condition of your tooth and determine the best course of treatment. 

Call 212-787-4860 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.