Do I Really Need a Root Canal?

Few words strike as much fear in a dental patient as the phrase, "You need a root canal." Relax! Root canals are more common than you might think. It's estimated that more than 15 million root canals are performed in U.S. dentist offices each year. So, what are the warning signs that might indicate your need for a root canal? Before we discuss them, let's take a closer look at the procedure. The more you know what to expect, the easier you will be able to handle your root canal.


A standard root canal is a fairly common procedure for most dental professionals. This procedure, which is also called endodontic therapy or root canal therapy, is the best way to save a damaged tooth. Teeth that have been fractured, have decayed to an extreme, or have intense sensitivity can be fixed with a root canal. The procedure includes the removal of dead nerve in the tooth, the cleaning of the tooth canal, and finally sealing the tooth with a rubber-like material.


Dental professionals have many reasons that they might recommend a root canal procedure to a patient. In fact, root canals can be necessary for some cosmetic procedures such as:

  • Dental implants
  • Bridges
  • Orthodontics
  • Veneers
  • Invisalign

These are just five simple examples of procedures that could require a root canal before they can be finished.


Of course, it isn't just dentists who can tell you if you may need a root canal. Although they are the professionals, there are telltale signs that may alert you to the possibility that you may have issues that require the procedure. According to the American Association of Endodontists, these signs include:

  • Extreme sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Discoloration of a tooth
  • Swelling of gums
  • Drainage or swelling of lymph nodes
  • Sensitivity when chewing

Of course, a dental professional should always confirm your suspicions. However, if you know the signs, you can easily prepare yourself for the procedure. Although any kind of dental work can be frightening for some people, knowing what you're getting into can help allay your fears. Our Mentor dentists can help, call our office.