Karen J Harris, DMD & Associates

Do You Need a Root Canal? 5 Telltale Symptoms

Do You Need a Root Canal? 5 Telltale Symptoms

Are you experiencing tooth pain that just won't quit? Are your teeth sensitive to hot or cold temperatures? If so, it may be time to ask yourself a question: Do I need a root canal? Root canals are often misunderstood and dreaded by many, but they can also provide much-needed relief from dental discomfort. In this blog post, we'll explore the telltale signs and symptoms that indicate you might need a root canal.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that aims to save a severely damaged or infected tooth. Inside every tooth, there's a soft tissue called the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. When this pulp becomes infected due to deep decay, cracks in the tooth, or trauma, it can cause excruciating pain and lead to further complications if left untreated.

During a root canal procedure, the dentist in St. Louis, MO, numbs the area around the affected tooth with local anesthesia. They then create an access hole in the top of the tooth to remove the infected pulp using specialized tools. Once removed, they clean out any remaining debris and disinfect the inside of your tooth.

After cleaning out the infection, our dentist will fill and seal up your tooth with a material called gutta-percha. This helps prevent future infections from occurring. In some cases where extensive damage has occurred or for structural integrity purposes, our dentist in St. Louis, MO, may recommend placing a dental crown on top of your treated tooth.

While it might sound intimidating, modern advancements in dentistry have made root canals much more comfortable and efficient than ever before. So if you're experiencing severe dental pain or suspect an infection in one of your teeth, don't hesitate to consult with our dentist in 63103 about whether a root canal could be necessary for saving your smile!

Signs and Symptoms of Needing a Root Canal

When it comes to dental issues, one that often causes anxiety is the possibility of needing a root canal in St. Louis, MO. Understanding the signs and symptoms can help you determine if this procedure is necessary for your oral health.

  • One common symptom is persistent tooth pain. If you experience throbbing or sharp pain that doesn't go away, even after taking over-the-counter pain medication, it could be an indication that there is infection or damage deep within your tooth.
  • Another telltale sign is sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. If drinking a cup of coffee or enjoying ice cream sends shooting pain through your tooth, it may be time to see your dentist for further evaluation.
  • Swelling around the affected tooth or in surrounding gum tissue can also indicate the need for a root canal. Inflammation and tenderness are signs that should not be ignored.
  • Additionally, discoloration of the tooth can suggest an underlying problem. A darkened tooth may mean that the nerve inside has become infected and requires treatment.
  • If you notice any recurring abscesses on your gums near the affected tooth, it's crucial to seek professional attention promptly as this could signify an infection requiring root canal therapy.

Remember, only a qualified dentist can diagnose whether you truly need a root canal based on comprehensive examination and imaging tests. Don't ignore these warning signs; early intervention can prevent more extensive oral health problems down the line! Contact us to learn more!

The Procedure: What to Expect

Now that you've recognized the signs and symptoms of needing a root canal, it's important to understand what the procedure entails.

Our dentist in St. Louis, MO, will numb the area around the affected tooth using local anesthesia. This ensures that you won't feel any pain during the procedure. Once you're comfortably numb, a small hole is drilled into the tooth to gain access to the infected pulp.

Next, using specialized instruments, our dentist will carefully remove all of the diseased or damaged pulp from inside your tooth. This may sound intimidating, but trust me when I say that this is a crucial part of saving your natural tooth and alleviating any discomfort.

Once all of the infected pulp has been removed, our dentist will thoroughly clean and reshape the inner chamber of your tooth. This helps ensure that no bacteria or debris remain before filling it with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha.

After filling up the space left by removing the pulp with gutta-percha material, a temporary filling is placed on top of it while waiting for permanent restoration like crown or filling.

In some cases where there was extensive damage or infection in surrounding tissues, bone grafting might be necessary, which can extend overall treatment time depending upon case complexity.

Afterward, you might experience some mild discomfort as your mouth heals, but this should subside within a few days. You'll then need to return for another appointment in order for permanent restoration, such as crown or fillings placed over treated teeth. Remember, it's always best to consult with an experienced dental professional if you suspect you may need a root canal treatment. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and guide you through each step along the way ensuring comfort throughout the process.


It is important to pay attention to the signs and symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal. Tooth pain, sensitivity, swelling, discoloration, and persistent bad breath are all telltale signs that something could be amiss with your tooth's pulp.

If you experience any of these symptoms, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Remember, early detection and treatment can prevent further damage and potentially save your tooth from extraction.

While a root canal may sound intimidating, modern advancements in dentistry have made the procedure much more comfortable and efficient. Your dentist will take every step necessary to ensure you are at ease throughout the process.

By addressing dental issues promptly and seeking professional help when needed, you can maintain optimal oral health and enjoy a pain-free smile.So if you suspect you might need a root canal or have been experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms - don't put it off! Contact your dentist today for an evaluation. Remember: prevention is always better than cure when it comes to preserving your teeth!

Get in touch with our office, Karen J Harris & Associates, at 2000 Locust, St. Louis, MO 63103, or call (314) 231-4893 to learn more. Our team will be happy to have you here!


2000 Locust, St. Louis, MO 63103

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Email: kharrisdmd@sbcglobal.net

Phone: (314) 231-4893