The American Association of Endodontists suggests that more than 15 million root canals are performed annually in the United States. Still, around 63% of Americans avoid getting a root canal treatment.

While root canals may seem daunting, understanding root canal symptoms is important to safeguard your oral health. For instance, one of the few common root canal symptoms includes continuous pain or swelling in the gums. Although pain and swelling in the gums may not always be directed towards the root canal, you must understand when exactly a root canal is necessary.

Recognizing the signs for root canal treatment can help you address dental issues before they worsen. If you are wondering how to tell if you need a root canal, this article is for you.

What Are the Signs That You Need a Root Canal?

Identifying the signs you need a root canal can prompt you to seek timely dental care to alleviate discomfort and prevent further complications. Here are a few telltale signs a root canal is needed:

       1. Persistent and Severe Tooth Pain

root canal symptoms

One of the most important signs of a root canal is severe and persistent tooth pain. This pain is often different from other tooth pain as it exceeds the regular level of discomfort and causes a throbbing and sharp sensation in your gums. It may be induced by chewing, biting, or even a slight pressure on your tooth. Unlike an occasional ache in your tooth, a pain that persists for an extended period is a sign that should not be ignored.

     2.  Sensitivity to Temperature

Have you suddenly noticed increased sensitivity in one or more of your teeth? Does eating hot or cold food cause tingling in your gums? This sensitivity is another telltale RCT symptom.

If the tingling sensation persists after eating hot or cold food, it can be a sign of a potential nerve damage or infection in one of your teeth. Usually, nerve damage in the tooth is caused when the protective layer or enamel around the tooth is compromised. If you notice such damage, visit a dentist at the earliest.

    3.  Swelling in Gums

Swollen gums are another sign that a root canal is needed. Swelling in the gums occurs due to inflammation in the body. The inflammation is the body’s natural response to an infection or irritation in your tooth. Sometimes, you may also notice redness or tenderness along with swelling. In some severe cases, a bump may also be visible.

   4. Tooth Discoloration

If you abruptly notice the color of your tooth changing to a grayish palette, it could be a sign of internal decay in your gums. Tooth discoloration occurs when the pulp inside your tooth becomes infected or dies. Due to the breakdown of internal nerves and tissues in the pulp, the tooth may darken over time. Although tooth discoloration may be due to certain foods or beverages, persistent darkening indicates oral health issues.

   5. Damaged Tooth

rct symptoms

Have you noticed your teeth cracking lately? Cracking or fracturing teeth indicates structural damage. Sometimes, even a minute hairline fracture in your teeth may cause bacteria to penetrate and cause infection, leading to pain. If left untreated, this can lead to a root canal or the tooth’s removal.


Although root canal treatment may seem difficult for most patients in the United States, it is necessary to preserve the integrity of your tooth and relieve pain. If you notice any of the above symptoms, visit a dentist as soon as possible.

Visit University Ave Dental for an expert dental analysis and RCT symptoms. Our team of gentle dentists ensures you feel at ease during your dental appointments. If you prefer to schedule an appointment, contact us at +1 763-784-1242.