How To Tell If You Need A Root Canal

Your teeth are much more than the enamel layer that you see when you look at the outside of a tooth. Inside every tooth is a nerve. And just like the nerves in other parts of your body, these nerves transmit pain signals and other sensations to your brain. The enamel layer of your teeth protects these nerves.

Unfortunately, when tooth decay and acid erosion damage the enamel layer of a tooth, the nerve inside that tooth no longer has any protection. Oral bacteria will eventually infect and kill the nerve. If your tooth has become infected, you need a root canal. But how can you tell when you need a root canal?

Early Signs

If you can spot the early signs of a tooth infection, you can see your dentist before the infection worsens.

Persistent Aching

The first sign to look for is a constant aching within the affected tooth. This is a sign that the nerve inside the tooth is dying.

Temperature Sensitivity

Because the nerve inside your tooth is dying and doesn't have an enamel layer to protect it, temperature sensitivity will become an issue.

Pain When Biting Down

An infected tooth will cause you pain whenever you bite down with that tooth. This usually means the exposed and infected nerve is still alive but not for much longer. Once the nerve dies, the infection will spread beyond your tooth.

Late Signs

Once the infection spreads beyond the infected tooth, it will reach your gum tissue and the surrounding bone. This is when the infection can soon become serious.

Swollen Gum Tissue

Because the space inside an infected tooth is so small, the battle between your white blood cells and the invading bacteria leads to pressure inside the tooth. This causes even more discomfort. As pus forms inside the tooth, it leaks into the surrounding gum tissue and causes swelling.


An abscess will form on your gum when the pus leaks into your gum tissue. And sometimes, this pus may leak out of the abscess.

Jaw Pain

The pus from a tooth infection may also leak into the surrounding bone tissue if there is no means for the pus to drain. This will cause jaw pain around the infected tooth.

Facial Swelling

As the pus spreads into other parts of your face, facial swelling will occur. Facial swelling can be dangerous if it occurs near your airways, so at this point, you need to seek dental treatment urgently.

Dental infections can spread out of control quickly. If you spot the early signs of a tooth infection, see your dentist as soon as possible. A root canal can stop a dental infection from spreading out of control. Ask a dentist for more information about root canals