Do You Need Root Canal Therapy?

Root canals are one of the most misunderstood dental treatments. Not only do they have a rather unfair reputation for being extremelySigns You May Need Root Canal Therapy unpleasant; like many patients, you may not understand when root canal therapy is actually advisable. A toothache is one indication that you may need endodontic treatment. However, not every twinge is a sign of a dental infection. We will carefully evaluate your tooth to determine the optimal treatment for you. Although we will recommend the most conservative option available, you can rest assured that if you do require a root canal, it will involve minimal discomfort.

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

A root canal is often the only way to save an infected tooth. A dental infection occurs when bacteria spread to the soft pulp inside your tooth. This pulp contains nerve endings, and the nerves travel from your tooth down your root canals. Without treatment, you will experience severe discomfort and worsening infection. The bacteria could even infect your nearby teeth, your gum tissue, or your jawbone. During endodontic treatment, we will clean out your tooth to remove all bacteria and infected material. Using extremely gentle techniques, we will also clean out and reshape your root canals. Then we will fill your tooth with a soft rubber compound. Finally, we will restore the look and function of your tooth with an inlay, onlay, or dental crown. Your tooth will be numb during treatment, so you should feel very little during the procedure. However, if you are still feeling nervous, we will recommend a highly effective sedation option to keep you calm and relaxed.

Signs of an Infected Tooth

Although a root canal is safe and involves minimal discomfort, it is a more extensive procedure than other forms of restorative treatment. We will evaluate your tooth and symptoms before determining that a root canal is right for you. In particular, we will look for five key signs that you may need root canal therapy. These include:

  1. A toothache: If you experience sensitivity to temperature changes or pain when biting down, you may require endodontic treatment.
  2. A gum abscess: A persistent sore on one area of your gum is a strong indication that you may need a root canal.
  3. A single darkened tooth: If only one tooth has dark intrinsic discoloration, it indicates internal damage. In particular, this type of discoloration is likely to appear after physical trauma to a tooth.
  4. A dark spot that shows up in x-rays: Sometimes, a dental infection will not manifest any symptoms. However, we can often detect damage with our advanced digital x-rays.
  5. An exposed dental root: In some cases, you may require root canal therapy, even if you do not have a dental infection. If your dental nerve becomes exposed, due to gum disease or some other soft tissue erosion, we may recommend endodontic treatment.


With over 25 years of professional experience, Dr. Steven M. Huffstutler and his caring team proudly provide exceptional preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatment to patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth, including North Richland Hills, Denton, the Mid-cities, Southlake, and all surrounding communities. We also have extensive experience helping patients find relief from painful TMJ disorders (various forms of jaw dysfunction). To schedule an appointment with Dr. Huffstutler, contact our office today by calling 817-918-3038.