7 Signs that Indicate You May Need a Root Canal

7 Signs that Indicate You May Need a Root Canal

Root canal—you may dread the procedure but it saves your tooth when it’s irreversibly damaged or inflamed. If you take proper care of your teeth, brush and floss regularly, and visit your dentist regularly, then you may not need a root canal in your lifetime. However, some things are beyond our control. Despite all precautions and measures, you may still need the procedure due to certain reasons.

But you don’t need to worry at all! When compared to other invasive procedures, such as tooth extraction and dental implant, a root canal procedure is less complicated and more cost-effective. The best part is that it saves your natural tooth. This blog post discusses seven tell-tale signs that could indicate a root canal may be in order.

  1. Chipped or cracked tooth

A chip or crack on a tooth may look harmless but can cause serious problems if they are not examined and treated on time. A majority of a chipped or cracked tooth can happen due to clenching teeth frequently, unconscious teeth grinding (bruxism), chewing on ice or any other hard objects, or eating excessively hard foods. Even if a tooth has no apparent cracks or chips, it still can cause damage to the pulp. The severity and depth of the chips and cracks determine the treatment procedures. If they haven’t invaded the pulp, then a root canal can stop them from causing any more damage. If no treatment is provided then they can exacerbate the problems and need more expensive and complicated procedures.

  1. Tooth infection

Tooth infections occur in people due to many reasons such as poor dental hygiene, lack of appropriate oral care, tooth injuries, or decay and cavities. When bacterial infections are detected at the right time before they invade the pulp, they can be treated without the need for complicated procedures. But if they invade the pulp, they can cause severe inflammation and pain. If dental X-rays reveal severe infection in the pulp, then a root canal is an option to remove the abscess and inflamed pulp from the tooth and restore it.

  1. Deep decay and cavities

Like tooth infections, decay or cavities are mostly caused due to lack of proper dental hygiene and regular care. Without suitable oral care, plaque and tartar start building up on the tooth surface. The bacteria in them start corroding the tooth enamel and creating tiny holes. If the decay and cavities are stopped from reaching the dentin, then treating them is easier and less expensive. But if they penetrate the dentin and invade the pulp, then either an extraction or a root canal procedure is the right treatment for it.

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  1. Sensitivity in the tooth

Tooth sensitivity is common among people in the age group of 30-40 years, though the problem can affect people in all age groups. The symptoms can range from mild pangs to severe aches when the tooth is exposed to hot or cold temperatures. In a majority of cases, the sensitivity isn’t a harbinger of serious complications but in some cases, it can signify that something is wrong in the tooth and it needs invasive treatments such as a root canal. A timely dental checkup can help in determining the cause of the tooth sensitivity as well as finding out if it indeed requires a root canal procedure.

  1. Problems with the crown

Crowns are one of the major restorative devices recommended in a root canal procedure. When they are placed after a root canal they enhance the success rate as well as the lifespan of the procedure. One research published on PubMed in May 2022 found that fitting a crown nearly doubles the survival time of a tooth. But in rare cases, when crowns don’t work as intended, they can cause complications in the tooth that has already been through the procedure and will need to be removed using another root canal procedure.

  1. Problems with fillings

Like crowns, fillings are useful in enhancing the success rate and survival time of teeth after root canal procedures. But in some cases, if the fillings are not replaced on time or due to a lack of proper oral hygiene, they can compromise the tooth’s health and can pose a danger to the adjacent teeth if timely treatment is not started.

In such cases, a root canal procedure can effectively work on the issues with the fillings and can restore the tooth. For this reason, dental experts recommend regular dental checkups after getting crowns and fillings as it can help in finding out if there are any problems with them or if they are as good as new.

  1. Frequent issues with a tooth

When a tooth faces frequent issues and undergoes repetitive procedures and treatments, it weakens considerably and becomes extremely vulnerable. More often than not, this condition can result in chronic pulpitis, a serious inflammation of the dental pulp that happens when bacteria penetrate the pulp.

The condition can kill the pulp and affect the adjacent teeth. If your tooth is plagued with frequent issues and requires repeated procedures, then you need to see a trustworthy and experienced dentist to know if a root canal can fix the problems.


A root canal may become a necessity in some specific cases and you don’t need to be apprehensive about the procedure. Compared to tooth extraction and dental implant, it is less complicated and it can save your natural tooth. If you experience any of the above signs, then call or visit your dentist right away without wasting any time. After examining the tooth, if a root canal procedure is necessary, then the dentist will refer to a professional and experienced endodontist.