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9 Root Canal Symptoms: What You Need to Know

15 million root canals are performed annually. That’s because many people have an infected tooth and they don’t realize it. There are times when improved oral hygiene can fix the issue. If not, an endodontist needs to perform a root canal.

A root canal is done when a tooth sustains a terrible infection. The infection reaches the pulp of the tooth. A root canal removes this pulp and the rest of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

Most root canal symptoms don’t start until the problem is at an advanced stage. But once you get to this stage, you’ll experience some uncomfortable symptoms.

Here are 9 root canal symptoms you should never ignore.

1. Chipped or Cracked Tooth

A chipped or cracked tooth isn’t the result of an infected tooth but it can increase your likelihood of a tooth infection.

If the chip or crack is big enough, it can expose the nerves beneath the tooth’s surface. An infection can easily make its way into your tooth, entering the bloodstream and spreading.

An endodontist may also recommend a root canal or a crown to protect the tooth if there’s a chance the crack will increase.

2. Persistent Pain

Pain is one of the first symptoms you’ll experience. You may experience a toothache that will eventually go away. However, a few months later, that pain will come back but more intensely.

You will first experience that wave of pain because the infection, known as an abscess, destroyed the tooth. The second wave of pain affects the gums, tissues, and nerves.

If the pain is excruciating and it’s interfering with your life, see your dentist immediately.

3. Swollen Gums

There could be many reasons why your gums are swollen or inflamed. But an infection is a likely reason. An infection also causes painful gums and even bumps on your gums.

First, your dentist will investigate your gums. If there’s an infection, you’ll need a root canal. But if time goes on and the pain and swelling persists, they may recommend a root canal to clean and seal the tooth and gum area.

4. Sensitivity to Hot and Cold Food and Drinks

You should experience little-to-no temperature sensitivity. Extreme sensitivity is one of the most common root canal symptoms. These common symptoms will force your tooth to start aching when you drink ice water or hot coffee.

If you don’t visit a dentist, this sensation will only get worse. That inconvenient sensitivity can turn into a sharp pain.

Why do you experience sensitivity? The nerves and blood vessels are to blame, whether or not there’s an existing infection.

5. General Sensitivity

Your tooth won’t only feel sensitive when you eat or drink hot or cold foods or beverages. Everything will make your tooth sensitive. This includes brushing your teeth or even moving your mouth in a certain way.

Keep in mind, you may just have a sensitive tooth without any underlying issues. Keep an eye on that look for a few weeks or months. If it doesn’t improve, visit your dentist.

5. Tooth Discoloration

Did a once pearly white tooth turned dark and discolored? There could be a few explanations. Teeth generally turn darker or discolored due to poor dental hygiene or tooth enamel staining.

However, nerve damage is also a likely factor. In this case, blood is no longer reaching the tooth, killing the nerve.

No matter the culprit, it’s essential you have a dentist examine any tooth color changes.

6. Gum Discoloration

In addition, a tooth infection can cause gum discoloration. Instead of healthy, pink gums, your gums will look slightly darker. Your gums will look black or a dark gray.

This is because an infection forms dead tissue, which forms a layer over your gums.

There are also other gum discoloration causes. Gingivitis or periodontitis, which is gum disease, is also a known cause. Smoking cigarettes and even other diseases can cause black or gray gums.

In addition, your gums can turn gray as a result of a root canal gone bad.

7. Tooth Decay

For the most part, antibiotics and better oral hygiene can help treat a tooth infection. But if the infection leads to tooth decay, you’ll need a root canal.

Tooth decay is caused by too much plaque build-up. You can commonly see black or brown spots on the teeth.

Tooth decay forms from a simple cavity. When a cavity has been neglected, the infection spreads into the root and nerve of the tooth.

8. Pus or Drainage

This symptom is specific to an abscessed tooth, which one of the most common reasons for needing a root canal. Pus is one of the most common abscessed tooth symptoms.

As the infected persists, the infection will rupture and drain pus. However, it’s best if you visit a dentist to drain the infection.

If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your mouth and even to other parts of your body.

9. Unsuccessful Previous Treatments

As stated previously, a root canal typically won’t be the first recommendation. If your dentist thinks you can treat the infection with antibiotics, a cavity filling, or even better dental hygiene, they will take that course of action.

But did you try all of these and the infection still persists? A root canal is needed to properly kill the infection and seal your tooth.

Identify These Root Canal Symptoms

Tooth pain and sensitivity are never fun. While these are symptoms of many ailments, they’re common root canal symptoms. Keep these symptoms in mind and know when it’s time to call the dentist.

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