All the teeth in your mouth consist of many nerves and blood vessels located in the center pathways, or canals, deep in the root. When your teeth initially form, these blood vessels and nerves provide the teeth with all the nutrients they need. Eventually, your teeth won’t need these nerves and blood vessels anymore, therefore a dentist can take them out without doing any damage to your teeth. This is called a root canal. Yet, you may or may not know if and when you need a root canal. Examine five signs below.

Pain is often a first indicator that something is wrong at the root of your tooth. When you cannot do normal activities such as eating or drinking without pain, then you should see your dentist. He or she may examine you and reveal you have a cavity that has caused your nerves and blood vessels to inflame and become infected. Since antibiotics can’t fix the infection, the doctor may choose to do a root canal.

Another sign is if your tooth is broken and the nerves are exposed causing infection. Leaving this broken tooth untreated can result in numerous issues for you. For instance, not having an infection treated via a root canal, may mean your tooth is so bad it may need to be extracted. Also, if you have an infection that’s not being treated, it can get in your blood stream and cause multiple health issues.

Sensitivity to heat may also be a warning sign for you. Drinking hot liquids like coffee and tea shouldn’t usually be a problem. However, you may be someone that notices your morning cup of Joe is less enjoyable because of a dull ache. This ache can progress into downright intense pain. If so, you may need to make an appointment to see about getting a root canal.

On the other hand, cold foods can really send you over your pain threshold in some cases. When you eat ice, you may find yourself shifting it to one side in order to avoid crunching the ice with the tooth that is infected. That’s because when you have nerve and blood vessel issues at the root of your tooth, the pain can be excruciating. A dentist may come to the conclusion that a root canal is the best solution.

Furthermore, if you notice the gum area around your tooth is swollen, this could be a sign of problems below the surface. A thorough exam may find you have inflammation and could need a root canal if the problem doesn’t improve.

To be on the safe side, if you notice any of these issues or just sense something is just not right, it’s necessary to reach out to your dentist immediately to figure out if you need a root canal. Early detection of problems could make a huge difference in whether or not you keep your tooth.

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