January 26, 2024 Oral Health

Do You Need A Root Canal Treatment? Here Is How You Can Decide!

Do You Need A Root Canal Treatment?

We all want healthy, pain-free teeth. However, toothaches and infections can happen no matter how well we look after our teeth. If the pulp inside your tooth becomes infected or inflamed, you may need a root canal treatment.

This procedure aims to save your natural tooth instead of extracting it. But how do you know if you need this treatment? Read on as we explain what a root canal is, the signs you may need one, and how your Birmingham root canal specialist can help determine if it’s right for you.

Let us understand the basics first.

What Is A Root Canal?

Your tooth has soft tissue inside called the pulp. This consists of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. The pulp extends down through the root canal, or root canals, in the roots of your tooth.

The tissues provide nourishment for your tooth and allow you to feel hot, cold and pressure on that tooth.

A root canal treatment is needed when this pulp becomes infected or inflamed. Bacteria can then get inside the pulp, causing infection. This can be very painful! A root canal aims to save the tooth instead of removing it.

Do You Need A Root Canal Treatment

Signs You May Need A Root Canal

How do you know if your tooth pain is due to needing a root canal? Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms:


This is the most obvious sign! You may feel a persistent, strong ache or throbbing pain in your tooth. This can range from mild sensitivity to severe pain that keeps you awake at night.

Pain When Chewing

Does it hurt when you bite down or chew food on a certain tooth? The pain may then linger for a while afterwards. This can indicate pulp inflammation.

Tooth Sensitivity

Do you feel a sharp pain when eating or drinking something hot, cold or sweet? This temperature sensitivity signifies changes and damage in the deep layers of your tooth.

Gum Swelling

You may notice your gums are tender, red or swollen near the painful tooth. An infected area at the tooth root can cause gum inflammation.

Darkening Tooth

As the tissue inside becomes diseased, your tooth may start to change colour.

Facial Swelling

A serious root canal infection can cause the tissues in surrounding areas to also swell up. You may experience swelling in your jaw, cheeks or neck. This needs urgent dental attention.

Sinus Pain

The roots of your upper back teeth may extend up near your sinuses. An infection in those teeth may cause sinus pain, congestion and pressure.

If a dental exam and x-rays confirm you have an infection or decay in the pulp of your tooth, an Endodontist, specially trained to complete Root Canal Treatments should be consulted to perform the root canal procedure.

Why Save The Tooth With A Root Canal?

Losing your natural teeth should always be the last option. So if a tooth becomes infected or damaged, modern dentistry aims to save it whenever possible. This preserves function and allows you to keep your natural smile.

Having a root canal rather than extraction is beneficial because:

  • It preserves the look of your smile and face shape by keeping your natural teeth intact
  • It prevents the need to get a dental implant or bridge
  • It maintains the healthy alignment and spacing of your teeth
  • It allows you to chew comfortably on that tooth once recovered

What Happens If A Root Canal Goes Untreated?

If a root canal goes untreated after the pulp becomes infected or inflamed, the infection will continue to spread deeper inside the tooth and down into the root canal system. Over time, bacterial byproducts will gather with no route of drainage.

The infection can then spread out into surrounding tissues like the jawbone and gum tissues, causing swollen lumps on the gums. But the main tooth infection rages on inside because antibiotics and painkillers cannot reach or remove the bacteria hidden down inside the tooth’s root canals.

Eventually, irreversible bone loss occurs around the roots as the infection destroys and eats away at bone cells in that area. With the bone support gone, the tooth becomes loose and fragile until it fractures and breaks off at the gum level.

Teeth & Face Tip: If a tooth is infected, we suggest treating it on priority.

At What Point Can You No Longer Get A Root Canal?

The point at which a root canal procedure can no longer be successfully carried out is when such severe dental destruction has happened around and below the tooth that the typical disinfection protocol followed in a root canal cannot predictably sterilise the infected space.

At this stage, only extraction with extensive bone grafting afterwards offers any tooth site preservation hope.

Can Antibiotics Heal An Infected Root Canal?

While antibiotics may provide relief of some worrisome symptoms like facial swelling arising from an infected root canal, they do not truly “heal” the underlying tooth infection. This is because the diseased pulp tissue left inside the canal space makes it difficult for the blood supply to penetrate.

Additionally, unless dental experts physically open up and sterilise the tooth interior, the environment remains friendly to bacteria. So for true healing, dead or infected pulp tissue requires removal under the microscope in a sterile environment with specially designed root canal instruments to gently shape, enlarge and completely disinfect all canal anatomy.

Can An Infected Tooth Heal Without A Root Canal?

Damaged or diseased pulp tissue in the centre of a tooth simply cannot heal or regenerate new tissues once infection sets in. So without properly physically removing all infection from the root canal system, and then sealing this off from the crown, it cannot heal.

No current medications can sterilise down inside, where bacteria and their byproducts get trapped.

So unfortunately once infection happens down inside a tooth from whatever cause, root canal therapy by a specialist becomes the only way to save the natural tooth and avoid eventual extraction.

Birmingham Root Canal Specialists You Can Consult

When it comes to complex root canal treatments, you’ll want an experienced specialist to give your tooth the best chance of success. Fortunately, Birmingham residents have fantastic Endodontic options right in town.

The specialists at Teeth & Face utilise a ‘Zeiss microscope’ (gold standard), which increases treatment success rates to 95%. Their focus on root canal therapy also means they perform hundreds of cases a year, fine-tuning their expertise. Teeth & Face offers various appointments to suit your schedule.

Their comfortable clinic has a team sensitive to any root canal fears after previous difficult dental experiences. No referral is required from your general dentist – you can arrange an assessment straight away if struggling with tooth infection symptoms.

With possible payment plans too, Teeth & Face makes specialist root canal treatment accessible for more Birmingham patients wanting to save their natural teeth.

group of teeth

What Are The Costs Related To Root Canal Consultation In Birmingham

Here are the costs related to root canal consultations and treatment in Birmingham to help you manage your expenses.

  • Initial Consultation – Free at many dental clinics. They offer no-obligation exams and treatment planning for root canals to understand your tooth issues at no cost.
  • Root Canal Filling – The average cost for an initial back molar root canal procedure is £850 – £950 in Birmingham.
  • Root Canal Retreatment – If an initial root canal fails or gets reinfected, the cost for re-treatment averages £950 among Birmingham dentists.

Flexible Payment Plans – Many dental clinics offer 6-12 month interest-free payment plans to make complex root canal treatments more financially accessible for patients.

Getting an initial assessment is key to understanding what options and estimated costs apply to your unique tooth situation when struggling with root-based pain or infection.

Teeth & Face Tip: A restored and crown-covered root canal tooth can last many years with good oral care.

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