Signs You Might Need a Root Canal

Feeling pain in your tooth? This is usually the main reason people go to the dentist. In 2017, an estimated 58% of people reported visiting their dentists for regular checkups, according to the American Dental Association, a number that’s down from 2016 and was also down from the year prior.

Visiting your dentist shouldn’t just be about addressing problems. Regular visits can prevent problems from happening in the first place. If it’s been a while since your last dental visit, Dr. Tracy Chan is accepting new patients at Marina Dental Care and is available for consultations. If you’re having tooth pain, Dr. Chan and his team can help.

What causes tooth pain?

Many things can cause tooth pain. People with sensitive teeth can be affected by the temperature of food and drink. For those with sensitive teeth, biting into cold foods like ice cream can be extremely uncomfortable. Cavities, too, can be uncomfortable and even painful.

Feeling intense and lasting pain in a tooth could indicate a serious infection, and you need a root canal to correct the problem and save the tooth. If your teeth are damaged or cracked, or if your pain can’t be alleviated with over-the-counter medication, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

How do I know if I need a root canal?

If you have a cavity due to tooth decay — in which you may notice a toothache or pain when eating or drinking — we can assist you quickly and easily.

If you’ve noticed that your symptoms are stronger and include intense and long-lasting pain in a tooth and discolored or swollen gums, these are signs of a bacterial infection within the pulp, or soft area inside of your tooth.

Left untreated, this could result in a far-reaching infection. While it’s possible that such an infection could have fatal results, this is uncommon. An X-ray can determine whether you have an infection of your tooth pulp, or pulpitis. This is a common result of a tooth whose enamel has been compromised, and it usually necessitates a root canal.

What happens during a root canal?

Root canals are common procedures, and the pain that you feel from the infection itself is likely to be stronger than the pain you feel after your root canal. Dr. Chan utilizes local anesthesia, meaning that the most you endure during the procedure is slight discomfort.

During a root canal, Dr. Chan uses a drill to open the tooth, and she thoroughly removes the infected tooth pulp. After cleaning out the tooth, Dr. Chan fills the tooth root with a mouth-safe synthetic material, seals the tooth, and places a crown to protect it.

What happens after a root canal?

After your root canal, it’s normal to have a small amount of pain as the area heals. Over-the-counter pain medicines should be enough to treat your lingering soreness. If your pain level is high, please reach out to us so that Dr. Chan can help you.

Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was performed to minimize the irritation to your gums. Within a day or two, you should be back to normal and ready to eat almost anything.

When is the last time you visited the dentist? We always recommend brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. If you’re experiencing tooth pain that hurts to the touch, contact Marina Dental Care as soon as possible to receive prompt, professional care.


Marina Dental Care

1763 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123

Phone: (415) 440-9000

Fax: (415) 440-9081


Monday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday: Closed

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