Dental Care

Root Canal Symptoms

You have probably been worrying about some possible root canal symptoms. 

But there's only one way to know if you need one:  Let your dentist examine your teeth! 

If you're having pain, we know how bad that is.  But there are two things worse:  The first thing is that your tooth is deteriorating while you leave it unattended. 

And the second thing is that your worry and fear will be worse than the actual experience of the root canal.


Three of the primary root canal symptoms include:

  • Your tooth is sore, and it has caused pain over a long period of time.
  • You are experiencing swollen gum tissue and pain in the areas of your mouth alongside the bad tooth.
  • You have a tooth that is darkening in color.

The Quiet Infection

However, it's quite possible that you will go to the dentist and find out that you need a root canal on a tooth that has given you no warning. 

Sometimes a tooth goes bad and for one reason or another we don't notice pain, and we don't have swelling in the adjacent tissues. A root canal problem can occur without the typical root canal symptoms.

That's because the nerve of the tooth dies quietly, over a long period of time, and we don't even experience pain.  The nerve tissue within the pulp of the tooth degenerates and becomes necrotic without producing overt root canal symptoms. 

Necrotic tissue refers to tissue, in this case the nerves of your tooth pulp, that dies from external factors such as infection, some kind of trauma, or exposure to toxins. 

In most cases, there has been a virulent but low-grade infection at work on your tooth for a long time, possibly years.  You haven't noticed it because your body has worked to combat this infection, and it's remained relatively free of symptoms.

But when you go to the dentist, a routine x-ray of your teeth might reveal a dark spot at the root of a tooth.  This signifies a lessening of the bone density around that root, and your dentist knows it is time to treat it.

The Appearance of Infection

Of course, most central tooth problems produce some kind of root canal symptoms! 

Even if you're not experiencing outright pain, you might notice a pimple-like lesion on the gum tissue surrounding the tooth.  Sometimes it causes pain and in some cases you merely feel uncomfortable pressure. 

These pimples on your gums provide a conduit for draining the pus that has accumulated at the site of the diseased tooth.  Its size will increase and decrease and then increase again over time. 

And periodically you will notice a bad taste in your mouth from the pus that has been discharged. 

The Traumatized Tooth

Sometimes a root canal is necessary when a tooth has suffered trauma-direct, severe pressure to the mouth that affects a tooth or even multiple teeth. 

This happens if a person has an automobile accident or a fall and his mouth is injured, or even if someone sustains a blow to the mouth during a fight or in a sports game.

You might notice that there is a crack in the tooth, but sometimes the trauma simply disrupts the pulp inside the tooth with no outward symptoms, at least initially.

When the trauma -whatever the cause- affects the pulp of the tooth, a gradual breakdown of the nerve tissue can begin.  As the pulp degenerates, bacteria begin to grow within the area carved out for the root of the tooth. This area is known as the root canal; hence the name of the dental procedure. 

As one of the more typical root canal symptoms, the tooth itself will gradually darken as it goes bad. 

Why Treat a Dead Tooth?

You might be wondering why the nerve of the tooth doesn't just die and be done with it -why does it require a root canal to fix it? 

The answer is that bacteria do indeed flourish within the confines of the dead tooth, and the body's natural healing resources -think of antibodies- cannot gain entry into the dead tooth to fight off the bacteria. 

Eventually the infection will grow the point that the root canal symptoms cause unbearable pain and the infection itself can even spread.

Ultimately, you should rest assured that the symptoms of the affected tooth will become more disturbing when you are letting it go untreated. 

It's time to let your dentist take a look at it. 


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