illustration of the inside of a tooth and gums

3 Signs You Need a Root Canal

Many people are afraid of root canals, yet this common procedure has been rendered virtually pain-free through modern dental techniques. In a root canal, the tooth roots and pulp are thoroughly cleaned, and the root chambers are sealed with a material that is biocompatible. If needed, a post may be inserted to support a crown, and restorative material may be used to supplement the remaining tooth structure. Root canals can save teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted. Endodontic services are needed when a tooth can be saved. 

In some cases, a tooth that needs a root canal shows no outward symptoms at all. Most of the time, though, you will notice some or all of these 3 very common signs that you need a root canal.

Tooth Pain

Tooth pain is a signal that something is wrong with the tooth. It does not necessarily mean you need a root canal, but most teeth that need root canals do cause pain. Dental pain may be bothersome or severe, but it almost always has a throbbing “heartbeat” rhythm. Tooth pain might appear only during chewing, brushing, or otherwise disturbing the tooth, or it might be continuous. The pain might change when lying down, standing up, or putting pressure on the tooth.


Dental swelling can also range from barely noticeable to severe. You might feel a slightly raised, tender spot on your gumline, or you might have swelling in your entire face and neck. The affected area may drain fluid. Even if you do not feel actual pain, you will likely experience soreness in the swollen area. Dental swelling sometimes goes away on its own, but antibiotics may be required to curb the infection. Either way, it is a definite sign of a problem. Teeth that need root canals often cause swelling.

Temperature Sensitivity

Sensitive teeth, known as dentin hypersensitivity, can have many causes. A new sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, though, may be the only signal that a tooth needs a root canal. Some people experience only minor discomfort, while others have severe pain when biting into a hot pizza or drinking a glass of iced tea. Your dentist will determine where the pain is coming from and whether you have a tooth that needs a root canal.

Modern Root Canal Treatment

Today’s root canals are virtually pain free. We use the latest techniques and a caring chairside manner to minimize bleeding, ensure patient comfort, and reduce healing times. We are also committed to lowering patient anxiety levels. If you have any fears or concerns, please let us know. We will work hard to ensure that you have a pleasant experience.

Drs. Michael and Matthew Lindemann are proud to welcome residents of the Greater Flint area to Lindemann Root Canal Specialists. If you need an endodontist, please call us today at 810-732-7900 to schedule your appointment.