You may have come to this page wondering if that tooth pain you have been having means you need a root canal – the short answer is you might, but you might not! Just because a tooth is having pain doesn’t necessarily mean you need a root canal. Here are common signs and symptoms to see if you need a root canal:

1) Severe hot/cold pain that lasts >30 seconds at a time

  • A little sensitivity is fairly common, especially if you just recently had dental work or a cleaning done. Some people have cold sensitive teeth and use Sensodyne to control it. But if you are at the point where you eat or drink something and the cold or heat pain lasts longer than 30 seconds, it is more than likely the nerve has irreversible damage and needs a root canal.

2) Throbbing/Aching/Pulsating pain that wakes you up at night or hurts throughout the day

  • This one is usually the most obvious, because it will make your head feel like it is on the verge of bursting with pain. Jaw aches, ear aches, and even head aches may accompany a tooth infection. It is definitely something that needs to be evaluated properly.

3) “Pimple” on the gums (draining sinus tract)

  • Many of these “pimples” or draining sinus tracts will not have pain and may be the only sign of something going on in the tooth. It is an attempt by your body’s cells to remove infected material or inflammatory tissue and may or may not have drainage to go along with it. It can also be due to periodontal disease which may be an antimicrobial mouth wash to heal.

4) Swelling

  • Another obvious sign that your tooth may need a root canal. Swelling can appear quickly and will present with a significant buildup of pressure and pain. It may even get to the point where you have trouble swallowing or blinking your eyes if it has progressed quickly. Swelling is one thing that needs to be checked immediately, since the sooner an endodontist can treat that, the easier it will be to control the pain and further swelling.

5) Tooth feels “different” or “loose”

  • A symptoms I often find happening here in Utah is patients stating their tooth feels like it has moved or wiggles when they bite on it. This can happen as the bone around the tooth disappears and is lost, which then makes the tooth mobile. Left unchecked, it can make the tooth incur further bone loss, possibly to the point the tooth will need to be extracted.

In summary, those are the five main symptoms patients that come into my office experience. If you have further questions, or are experiencing any of these and would like to be evaluated please come into Eastpoint Endodontics today.