How To Tell If You Need A Root Canal | Glassman Dental Care

How To Tell If You Need A Root Canal


A root canal is a dental procedure that most people would prefer to avoid. But it just may save your tooth. Misconceptions about root canals often cause people to fear them, but it is actually a simple, routine procedure that is no more uncomfortable than a cavity filling. 

Do you think you may need a root canal? There are a variety of signs and symptoms that could indicate that a root canal would be in the best interest of your dental health. Here’s what to look for. 

Signs and Symptoms of a Tooth That Needs a Root Canal

If you have one or more teeth that need a root canal, you may experience any of the following symptoms or scenarios: 

  • Toothache. If your tooth aches or causes you severe pain that doesn’t subside over time, you may have an infected tooth. When bacteria gets inside a tooth it can infect the dental pulp, the soft tissue at the center of a tooth, causing pain. 
  • Abscess. An abscess is a swollen bump on your gum tissue that indicates an infection is present. This may mean that a tooth is infected and needs a root canal. 
  • Deep cavity. A cavity that goes untreated will gradually become deeper. If it gets deep enough to reach the dentin (the soft layer under the enamel) or the dental pulp (the soft tissue at the center of the tooth), it can result in an infection. A root canal can prevent a tooth infection due to a deep cavity. 
  • Cracked tooth. A crack in a tooth, depending on how deep, puts a tooth at risk of infection. A cracked tooth will often need a root canal and a crown. 
  • Chipped tooth. If a large enough chip occurs in a tooth, a root canal may be needed to prevent infection. 
  • Broken tooth. If a large piece of a tooth breaks off, the tooth may be saved with a root canal and a crown if there is enough tooth material left. 

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure used to treat an infected tooth or a tooth that is at risk of infection. The dentist will make a small hole in the crown of your tooth to access the root canal. The dental pulp is completely removed from the inside of the tooth and the root canal is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The tooth is filled with a replacement material that fortifies the structure of the tooth and prevents reinfection. 

Do I Need a Crown After a Root Canal?

In most cases a dental crown will be placed over the tooth following a root canal. A crown protects the remaining tooth material and the root, allowing it to stay in place in your mouth for many years. A tooth that receives a crown after a root canal tends to last longer than a tooth that only receives a filling. Your tooth is much less likely to develop a new infection after being fitted with a crown. 

What Should I Do if I Think I Need a Root Canal?

If you have any of the signs or symptoms of a tooth that needs a root canal, contact Glassman Dental Care right away. Root canal treatment that is performed at the right time may be able to save a tooth before the damage is too great. It can also relieve or prevent the pain or discomfort that may come with a tooth infection. We can evaluate the condition of your tooth and make a recommendation for the best course of treatment. 

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