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What are the signs that a root canal is needed?

If you have pain when biting, tooth sensitivity to heat or cold, gum swelling near a specific tooth, tooth discoloration, or a broken tooth, you might need a root canal. Your dentist can do some easy tests to determine whether you need a root canal, such as putting something hot or cold next to the tooth or taking an x-ray of the tooth.

You might need root canal when there’s an infection in the tooth or the tooth’s pulp is damaged. The pulp can get infected from an untreated cavity. This happens if the pulp, inside the tooth, becomes exposed to bacteria, causing inflammation and reducing the tooth’s blood supply. Antibiotics can’t reach inside a tooth to clear up an infection, so the pulp needs to be cleaned out and the root canal filled. If you're experiencing pain or sensitivity in a tooth, especially in a tooth that's broken or cracked, you may have root or pulp damage and should see your dentist immediately.`

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.