There are times in life when a “wait and see” approach is perfectly appropriate. But when it comes to tooth pain, time is of the essence. Quickly diagnosing and treating the root cause of your pain is key. But how do you know when a toothache needs more than just a filling? Today we’re revealing five signs you need a root canal, and what you can do to make it a pain-free experience.

Getting to the Root of the Issue

Tooth pain is the body’s way of alerting you to a deeper problem, and it’s always a good idea to visit your general dentist when you experience any kind of toothache. If a dental cavity goes untreated for too long, it can reach further and further into the tooth. Eventually the decay will reach the pulp, which is the center of the tooth that stores the tooth’s blood vessels and the nerves. If an infection manages to reach the pulp, it will cause extreme pain and sensitivity.

Root canal therapy is the best way to treat this type of infection in the tooth. During a root canal, an endodontist will clean out the infection inside the pulp and seal it to avoid further infection or damage.

5 Signs You Need a Root Canal

Each and every toothache is different, which is why consulting with your general dentist is key. Some are small issues, while other toothaches may signal a much larger problem. The best way to determine how to treat a toothache is to visit your dentist, who will be able to help determine the cause.

Unsure of what to look out for? Contact your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms below, because it could indicate that you need root canal therapy.

1. Swollen or Tender Gums

A deeper infection may be brewing if the gum tissue surrounding your affected tooth feels or looks especially tender. Swollen gums indicate issues beneath the surface, and in some cases, a root canal is needed to solve the problem.

2. Chronic Bad Breath

Reaching for the breath mints more often? Believe it or not, bad breath could be more than a side effect of too much garlic. Talk to your dentist about potential causes to blame for chronic bad breath.

3. Discoloration of the Tooth or Gums

Tooth discoloration can occur for a number of reasons, including poor hygiene or even stains from food and drink. But if an x-ray reveals nerve or blood vessel damage as the cause, your dentist will likely recommend root canal therapy.

4. Prolonged Sensitivity

Some sensitivity to temperature is completely normal, but if your tooth hurts any time you chew or put pressure on it, you may need a root canal. A damaged root is often to blame for prolonged sensitivity.

5. Extreme and Persistent Tooth Pain

Last but not least, pain is one of the main indicators that something is wrong with your tooth. If the pain impacts your daily life, or if simple things like eating or drinking cause pain, it’s time to take a trip to the dentist to get to the cause and see if a root canal is warranted.

The Care You Need if You Need a Root Canal

We get it –– the thought of dental work doesn’t exactly invoke warm and fuzzy feelings for some. The possibility of needing a root canal, though,l can be downright unsettling. But amazing technological advances have made root canal treatments faster to complete, and help keep you comfortable and pain-free in the process.

At Endodontic Specialists of Colorado, we specialize in patient-centered care that helps relieve your tooth pain for good. Contact one of our offices in Pueblo or Colorado Springs to learn how we can use root canal therapy to restore your smile!