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Signs That You Need a Root Canal

The pulp-filled cavity in the root of a tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels is called the root canal, and if this portion of the tooth becomes inflamed or infected, endodontic treatment may be needed.* Patients typically have two options when this occurs: the tooth can either be extracted, or it can be treated through root canal therapy in the hopes of saving the tooth.

When faced with this choice, always consider saving your natural tooth—no denture, bridge or implant will look, feel or function as well as your natural tooth.* But how can you determine if you have a root canal system infection?

Signs of a Root Canal System Infection

There are various signs you need a root canal that you should look for, including:

  • Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure;
  • Discoloration (darkening of the tooth);
  • Swelling and tenderness in nearby gums, or;
  • Prolonged sensitivity (pain) to hot or cold temperatures (after the heat or cold has been removed)**

Take a look to see which other root canal symptoms you should be aware of!

When experiencing any of these symptoms, the most important thing is to not ignore them. Just because the pain or sensation may taper off or disappear doesn’t necessarily mean the infection is resolved. If an infected tooth is left untreated, the nerves within the root canal may die—which is why the pain has subsided; however, the tooth still needs to be treated.***

Treating an Infected Root Canal System

If you’ve noticed any root canal symptoms, it’s necessary to see your dentist right away. In cases where the tooth can be saved, patients should consider standard root canal treatment, which uses a series of files to clean out the root canal.** But since the root canal system consists of many complicated twists and turns, it can be difficult for files to reach all of the crevices where infected tissue and bacteria can hide.2 Thankfully, there is now an alternative to standard root canal treatment—the GentleWave® Procedure.

The GentleWave Procedure: A Higher Level of Clean

The GentleWave Procedure is an alternative to root canal treatment that uses fluid dynamics and broad-spectrum acoustic energy2 to clean and disinfect the root canal system.2 With the GentleWave Procedure, you’ll be choosing a treatment option that can offer fewer appointments,4 fast healing4 and the chance to save your natural tooth!4 The procedure can also typically be completed in just one visit,4 compared to the multi-visit protocol that standard root canal treatment often requires.***

Locating a GentleWave Provider

If you’ve been experiencing any of the symptoms of a root canal system infection and have been told you need root canal therapy, choose the alternative to standard root canal treatment—the GentleWave Procedure! Use our Provider Locator to find a GentleWave Provider in your area!


** 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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