Skip to main content

Do I Need a Root Canal? Possible Signs and Symptoms

Root canal treatment is needed when the pulp, or the soft tissue that lives inside the root canal of a tooth, becomes infected or inflamed, and cannot be restored to become healthy again. The symptoms of an infected root canal system vary, but the treatment required is often the same.

Do I need a Root Canal?

If you are experiencing the below symptoms, you may need root canal therapy.

Do I need a root canal?Constant Toothache
Constant pain or irritation that is not initiated or stimulated by activity in the mouth.

Lingering Sensitivity
You may already experience sensitivity to cold and hot foods, but if this becomes prolonged, (after the food has been removed), it may be a sign of needing a root canal.

Drainage from the root of the tooth.

Tooth Discoloration
A greyish-black appearance of the tooth could be due to an infection of the pulp. If this is the case, root canal treatment is required to treat the underlying infection.

Toothache in the Bone
Experiencing an ache in the bone surrounding a tooth is a common symptom of an abscessed tooth, which would require root canal treatment.

Toothache When Chewing
If you are experiencing pain when chewing or applying pressure to your tooth, an infection may be present.

Swelling of the Gums
If you find that your gums are sore or swollen, this may be an indication that the pulp of the tooth is infected.

Scheduling Root Canal Treatment

Schedule an appointment with your dentist if you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms.

If you have been told that you need a root canal, endodontic treatment is required. Standard root canal treatment involves removing the infected tissue within the root canals. During this process, files and treatment fluids are inserted into the canal to help remove the tissue and disinfect the root canal.

An Alternative to Standard Root Canal Treatment
Those seeking root canal treatment also have the option to choose the GentleWave® Procedure, an alternative to standard endodontic treatment. The GentleWave System uses procedure fluids to reach and disinfect the complex twists and turns of the root canal. The ability to reach and disinfect the microscopic ‘nooks and crannies’ of the canal wall results in a higher standard of clean. The GentleWave Procedure’s technology decreases the opportunity for bacteria to be left behind in the canal wall2, which is often a contributing factor to a failed root canal treatment. 

To find a GentleWave provider in your area, use our Provider Locator

The GentleWave® Procedure is a medical procedure that is designed to prepare, clean and preserve the structure of teeth1,2,4 indicated for root canal therapy. Similar to other root canal treatment procedures, there is a potential risk of adverse effects. If you are considering the GentleWave Procedure, ask your clinician if you are a proper candidate. For additional information, visit

Share Page