How do I know if I Need a Root Canal?

By Mina Levi, DDS, 03/12/2015

Tooth pain is something that almost everyone will experience in their lifetime, whether it’s caused from dental decay, gum problems, trauma or another cause. Sometimes this tooth pain can mean that you need a root canal, which is the removal of the root or nerve of the tooth by an endodontist. In order to know when this is the case, Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS discusses four signs and reasons that you may need a root canal.

Root Canal Dentist San Francisco

1. Sharp, throbbing pain. Sharp, unbearable or throbbing pain coming from a tooth that is enough to wake you up at night is a definite sign that you need to have a root canal done. If you have just had a dental procedure, and your pain is more of an ache (even if it is a high level ache), this is not necessarily a sign of root canal necessity. An achey pain is usually a reaction of the tooth to having been worked on, the gums responding to the area where the anesthetic was administered, or the bite needs to be adjusted. Do not panic if you are having this type of pain. Even if you are having throbbing or sharp pain, do not panic, simply call your San Francisco Dentist for an appointment to confirm that there is a need for a root canal and they will refer you to an endodontist.

2. Discolored tooth. A discolored tooth usually occurs when the tooth has experienced some sort of trauma and the tooth or nerve has died. In this case when the nerve is dead, it needs to be removed from the tooth immediately via root canal and the tooth will need to be restored with a crown. If the dead nerve remains in the tooth, the tooth will become brittle and will easily break. A severely broken tooth will need to be extracted and replaced with a denture, bridge or implant, which is a whole new set of procedures.

3. Tooth abscess. An abscessed tooth occurs when there is an infection in the root or nerve of the tooth. This infection, when not taken care of, will cause the tooth to die. A root canal will need to be performed in order to save the tooth. If the infection progresses, many complications can arise including the loss of the tooth.

4. Deep dental decay. When dental decay progresses deeply into the tooth, it can expose the nerve of the tooth and cause incredible pain and infection. In order to avoid this and avoid the need for a root canal, visit your San Francisco Dentist regularly for exams so that dental decay can be caught and treated before it progresses to the nerve of the tooth.
 Deep dental decay root canal

If you have questions regarding root canals, the process of a root canal, or if you are experiencing pain you believe needs to be treated with a root canal, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at or give us a call at (415) 513-5066