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How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?

Within your tooth is a pulp-filled cavity that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. During the tooth’s development, the pulp plays a vital role, creating the hard tissues of the tooth.*

If the pulp of the tooth becomes infected or inflamed, root canal therapy may be needed.

Causes of a Root Canal System Infection

A root canal system may incur inflammation or become infected for a variety of reasons. Some of these are:

Deep Decay
If you’ve experienced a deep cavity, bacteria could potentially enter the pulp. If the bacteria is left within the root, the result may be an infection or tooth abscess.

Dental Procedures
Repeated dental procedures on a tooth can lead to the pulp becoming infected or inflamed.*

If a tooth experiences some sort of trauma, a root canal system infection may result—this can either be recent or past trauma that has progressed.*

Chipped or Cracked Tooth
A chip or crack in the tooth may allow the nerve of the tooth to become exposed, possibly leading to a root canal system infection.*

Symptoms of Infected or Inflamed Pulp

Just as the causes of a root canal system infection vary, so do the symptoms. If you are experiencing a toothache (constant, in the bone or initiated by chewing), lingering sensitivity, discharge from the tooth or gums, discoloration of the tooth (greyish-black) or a swelling of the gums, you may be experiencing root canal symptoms.**

Diagnosed with a Root Canal System Infection

If your symptoms line up with those listed above, you may need root canal therapy. It is advised to first schedule an appointment with your dentist, who will assess your symptoms. If root canal therapy is needed, your dentist may perform it themselves or refer you to an endodontist.

Root Canal Therapy Options
If you’re in need of root canal therapy, but are looking for an option outside of standard root canal treatment (RCT), the GentleWave® Procedure may be your answer.

The GentleWave Procedure is a minimally invasive1 alternative to standard RCT. Using ultracleaning technology, the GentleWave System reaches into the microscopic spaces1, 2 that standard root canal treatment frequently cannot.3 It’s so effective at cleaning and disinfecting the root canal system, there’s less chance of failure over time!4

Find a GentleWave® Provider
If you’re experiencing root canal symptoms and would like to find a dentist or endodontist in your area who performs the GentleWave Procedure, use our Provider Locator.



** WebMD

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

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