When Do I Need a Root Canal?

Root Canal Therapy Dentists in Grand Rapids, MI

Let’s be clear. If you feel any dental pain or discomfort, please schedule an appointment with our office as soon as possible. While you may not need a root canal, it’s important that we treat the source of your dental pain before it worsens.

In this blog post, we’ll go over the signs you may need root canal therapy. We’ll also explain what you can expect during your next appointment with us.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

Call our office immediately if you recognize any of the below symptoms.

You might need a root canal if you experience:

  • A tooth darkening in color
  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Severe toothache
  • Gum tissue near the tooth is swollen and/or tender

An abscessed tooth will NOT heal on its own. If you put off seeing a dentist, the abscess could burst and spread to the face, neck, and the rest of the body. In rare cases, patients may even develop a life-threatening condition called sepsis.

Sometimes, there are no symptoms to warn you of a tooth infection. For this reason, it’s important to schedule an appointment for preventive dental care every 6 months.

What to Expect During a Root Canal

The goal of an emergency root canal is to save an abscessed tooth so it won’t need extraction. This means that our dentist will need to remove the decaying tooth nerve, along with the infected tooth pulp. Without the root canal procedure, the tooth will die and need to be extracted.

First, Dr. Yun will need to locally anesthetize the tooth so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. You will, however, feel a small pinch as our doctor injects the pain reliever. Next, our dentist will use a small drill or another dental tool to create a small hole near the top of the tooth.

Once a sufficient opening has been made, our dentist will work to clear the infected dental pulp from your tooth. For good measure, Dr. Yun may flush the inside of your tooth with water and anti-microbial solution to make sure any remaining pulp and bacteria are removed. Afterward, a temporary filling will be used to seal the small hole.

A few weeks later, you will return to our office to have a root canal crown fitted over your tooth so it looks and feels natural. This crown strengthens your tooth and restores its appearance.

Related:How are Dental Crowns and Fillings Different?


Don’t wait until you’re in unbearable pain before calling our office. If you have a toothache, it could be a sign that the pulp inside your tooth is infected. In that case, Dr. Yun would need to perform a root canal. But you won’t know for sure until you come in for an appointment.

Request an Appointment With Dr. Yun

Dr. Suk Jun Yun is a family dentist in Grand Rapids, MI, that offers root canal therapy. To schedule an emergency appointment, contact the NorthPointe Family Dental & Implant Center at northpointefamilydental@gmail.com.

This blog post has been updated.