Signs You Have a Root Canal Infection

By J. Brent Gorrell on May 04, 2019

Graphic shows location or root canal infectionEach year, more than 15 million root canal procedures are performed, according to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE). The treatment is often used to preserve an infected tooth and prevent the need for extraction.

At Gorrell Smiles in Mountain View, CA, Drs. J. Brent Gorrell and Xue Summer perform root canal therapy. Undergoing this safe and effective treatment can relieve pain while preventing the further spread of dangerous infection. Here, we discuss the signs that indicate you have a root canal infection.

Tooth Pain

The first and most common symptom of a root canal infection is a severe toothache. Patients may experience pain while chewing or hypersensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.

Inflamed Gum Tissue

Swelling, tenderness, and redness of the gum tissue around the tooth are signs of a root canal infection.

Jawbone pain

In some cases, the pain from the root canal infection can radiate out toward the jawbone. In severe cases, the infection may have reached the jawbone. In either case, it is important to reach out to our Mountain View practice at this point to schedule an appointment so your dental pain can be diagnosed and treated.

Tooth discoloration (darkening)

A root canal infection can cause the affected tooth to darken in color. As the tissues within the tooth become infected, they darken in color, causing the tooth to become more brown or yellow in appearance.


A pimple or zit that keeps appearing on the gums is another sign of a root canal infection. This results from pus that builds up at the tip of the root.

Chronic Bad Breath

Any infection of the mouth, including one affecting the root canals, can cause chronic bad breath. This is because dental bacteria breakdown foods and particles in the mouth, and then release sulfur compounds that have a foul odor.

How Do I Know for Sure if I Have a Root Canal Infection?

During your consultation at our office, one of our dentists will look for specific symptoms. In some cases, a visual examination will be enough to determine if root canal therapy is needed. Dr. Gorrell may take X-rays or other images to confirm the presence of advanced infection.

How Will My Root Canal Infection Be Treated?

While many patients imagine root canals to be highly uncomfortable or even painful, the use of local anesthesia will ensure that your discomfort is minimal.

Once you are comfortable, Dr. Gorrell will create an access point near the top of your tooth. Through that small hole, Dr. Gorrell will remove the infected soft tissue. The vacated cavity will then be cleaned to ensure that no bacteria remain.

A rubber-like substance will be used to fill the space that the pulp occupied. Your tooth will then be capped with a crown. Most individuals are able to return to work the day after undergoing root canal therapy.

Contact Our Office Today

If you are experiencing symptoms of a root canal infection, seek medical help immediately. An advanced infection can spread quickly, placing your health in jeopardy. To schedule your visit to our Mountain View office, contact our office online or call us at (650) 967-1441.

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Mountain View Office

809 Cuesta Dr
Ste 205
Mountain View, CA 94040

More Info Directions (650) 967-1441