Many people fear having to undergo a root canal for dental health. However, the truth is that this procedure is often necessary and can provide relief from pain and discomfort caused by tooth pulp damage. The pulp inside your tooth contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When the pulp becomes damaged or infected, it can cause intense pain and discomfort. Pulpal nerve damage can occur for various reasons, including a deep cavity, trauma to the tooth, or gum disease. If left untreated, the pulp can die, causing an abscess.

A root canal is a dental procedure that removes the damaged or infected pulp from the tooth. The dentist will numb the area with local anesthesia before making a small hole in the top of the tooth. They will then remove the pulp and clean out the inside of the tooth. Once the tooth is clean, the dentist will seal it with a special material. Sometimes, a dental crown may be placed over the tooth to provide additional support and protection. A root canal treatment can help to relieve pain and discomfort caused by damaged or infected pulp, preventing the spread of infection to other teeth or parts of the body. However, not everyone knows if they need a root canal, so we will discuss the signs in this article, including:

#1 – Tooth Pain While Chewing

One of the most common signs of needing a root canal is tooth pain while chewing. This pain can be sharp and intense and may occur when you bite or pressure the affected tooth. The pain may also linger even after you have stopped chewing. This type of pain often indicates that the pulp inside the tooth is damaged or infected.

When the pulp becomes damaged or infected, it can cause inflammation and swelling around the tooth. This can result in pain and discomfort, especially when pressure is applied to the tooth. If you experience this pain, visiting your dentist as soon as possible is essential. They can examine your tooth and determine if a root canal is necessary.

#2 – Gum or Facial Swelling

Gum or facial swelling is another common sign of needing a root canal. The swelling may be localized to the area around the affected tooth, or it may spread to the surrounding gums and face. This swelling is often a result of the infection or inflammation caused by damage to the pulp inside the tooth.

In some cases, the swelling may be accompanied by redness, tenderness, or even drainage of pus from the affected area. This indicates that there is an infection present and immediate treatment is necessary.

#3 – Tooth Discoloration or Graying

Tooth discoloration or graying is another sign that a root canal may be necessary. This occurs when the pulp inside the tooth is damaged or infected, causing the tooth to darken or change color.

If you notice that one or more of your teeth have become discolored or gray, it may be a sign that the tooth is dying and needs immediate attention from a dentist. The infection can spread to other teeth without treatment and cause further damage. A root canal can help save the affected tooth and prevent further complications.

#4 – Tooth Oversensitivity with Hot or Cold Drinks

Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that many people experience. However, if the sensitivity is severe and only occurs with hot or cold drinks, it may indicate a root canal issue. When the pulp inside the tooth becomes damaged or infected, it can cause the tooth to become more sensitive to temperature changes.

If you experience intense pain or discomfort when consuming hot or cold drinks, seeing a dentist as soon as possible is essential. They can determine if a root canal is necessary to treat the underlying issue and provide relief from the sensitivity. Delaying treatment can lead to further complications and even tooth loss.

#5 – Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is a severe dental issue when a bacterial infection forms in the tooth’s pulp. The infection can cause a buildup of pus, leading to severe pain, swelling, and even fever. Other symptoms may include sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, foul breath, and difficulty chewing.

If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can lead to serious health complications, such as the infection spreading to other parts of the body. See a dentist as soon as possible if you suspect you have an abscessed tooth. Treatment may involve draining the abscess, antibiotics, and possibly a root canal or tooth extraction.


A root canal is helpful if you have a severely infected or damaged tooth. For this reason, you must consult your dentist if you experience tooth pain or discomfort because ignoring dental problems can lead to further complications and more extensive treatments. This way, your teeth can be saved and restored to their healthy state, allowing you to maintain good oral health and overall well-being.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Chelmsford, MA, Chelmsford Dental Specialists Group can help! You must never skimp on your oral health, so we provide comprehensive dental treatments to ensure it’s in excellent condition. Call us today at (978) 250-0079 to request an appointment!