Four Signs that you may need a Root Canal

Four Signs that you may need a Root CanalPoway and Rancho Bernardo, CA

Every tooth has an internal chamber that houses its nerves and blood supply. When bacteria enter the tooth’s chamber, it can result in significant pain and infection. While pain from an infected tooth is quite severe and relentless, it may be difficult to know whether you need a root canal in Poway or not. Dr. is here to explain four signs that may signal a root canal is in your future.

First, let’s take an in-depth look at the root canal procedure.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is essentially just a deep filling that involves removing the internal pulp or the nerves and blood supply of the tooth. The tooth’s chamber is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and then a specially designed filling material known as gutta-percha is used to fill each canal of the tooth’s root. Following a root canal, a dental crown will be needed to protect the tooth since it will no longer receive nutrients from the blood vessels.

Signs that you need a root canal may include the following:


Significant pain that is difficult to control could signal a root canal is necessary. Teeth should not hurt, and when they do, it can be a sign that bacteria have entered the tooth’s chamber either by extensive tooth decay or a fractured or broken tooth. Pain may also occur when you chew or bite down. For many patients, this type of tooth pain may suddenly occur, and typical over-the-counter pain relievers do nothing to subside the discomfort. However, not all tooth pain results in needing a root canal, which is why an evaluation by your dentist is always best.

Tooth Sensitivity

You may experience sensitivity or pain when something cold like an iced beverage touches your tooth. At first, the pain may feel like a dull ache, and eventually, you may be unable to let anything cold touch your tooth without experiencing a great deal of pain. Generally, warm or hot foods and beverages tend not to bother the problem tooth, although if you notice your morning cup of joe or hot tea causes one particular tooth to hurt, a root canal could be in your future.


Swelling of the face or the gum area where the painful tooth is located could signal an infection. Sometimes, an abscess –a white pocket of puss, may appear on the gum area at the end of the tooth’s root, which is a sign of an infection. The affected side of your face may even feel warm to the touch and appear red. At this point, it is likely evident that your tooth is infected, and taking a round of antibiotics will not cure the problem. In fact, ignoring this type of infection could even pose a serious threat to your health as the infection could spread to vital organs such as your brain or your heart. It is imperative that you receive treatment right away if you notice an abscess has formed on your gums.

Broken or Cracked Tooth

Sometimes, a broken or cracked tooth may result in the need for a root canal. In these instances, the tooth’s internal blood and nerve supply is damaged or dead and must be removed. A broken or lost filling may also result in this same issue in which you need a root canal. Not all broken or cracked teeth require a root canal, but Poway family dentist Dr. Cook will assess your symptoms and collect diagnostic data to determine if a root canal is the best treatment for you.

When to call the dentist

When it comes to a toothache, there are varying degrees of pain, none of which should be ignored. Teeth generally should not cause any pain unless something has gone wrong, which would require some type of treatment. It is always best, however, to call the dentist and schedule an appointment for an evaluation whenever you experience a toothache.

General Dentist in Poway

Smiles by Dr. Cook is proud to offer an assortment of services including root canals. To schedule an appointment, please call (858) 673-0141 or contact Smiles by Dr. Cook today. We welcome patients of Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California.