Oct 18

Common Root Canal Infection Symptoms

by Bruno Lemay, D.M.D.
Tagged with: Root Canal Therapy

Illustration of a tooth with a root canal infectionRoot canal infection is one of the most serious oral health problems. The roots of a tooth support it and anchor it in place, so when the roots become infected, tooth loss is a significant concern. Fortunately, root canal therapy can effectively treat root canal infection in most cases, provided the infection is diagnosed in a timely manner.

It is important that our Cathedral City, CA, patients recognize potential root canal infection symptoms so that they know when it is appropriate to seek professional dental care. Here, Dr. Bruno Lemay discusses the symptoms that individuals are most likely to experience when a root canal infection is present.

Pain or Heightened Tooth Sensitivity

Pain or heightened tooth sensitivity is often one of the first indicators that a root canal infection has developed. Individuals with a root canal infection may develop localized pain or heightened sensitivity around the tooth and gums.

The degree of pain and sensitivity varies for each patient. While some may suffer from persistent pain, others may deal with a dull ache, sensitivity related to biting and chewing, or pain from extreme hot or cold temperatures.


A root canal infection develops when the tissues in the pulp of the tooth and the roots of the tooth become inflamed. In many cases, inflammation extends to the gum line. Our Cathedral City patients may notice that the gums near the infected tooth appear red and swollen. The tissues are also likely to feel tender.

When the gums are swollen throughout the mouth, it may indicate gum disease. However, localized inflammation is more likely a symptom of root canal infection.

Dental Abscess

Though it does not always occur, a dental abscess sometimes develops when there is a root canal infection. A dental abscess is a small pocket of pus that can collect at the tip of the dental roots. It may not always be possible to see an abscess from the surface, but when it is visible, it can look like a raised bump or a small pimple on the gum line.

Darkening of the Tooth

Some people with a root canal infection may notice that the infected tooth begins to darken in color. As infection develops, the roots of the tooth can turn dark brown. This deep coloration can spread to the crown of the tooth. A tooth with a root canal infection may look gray, yellow, or light brown in color.


Halitosis, or persistent bad breath, is a potential side effect of root canal infection. Root canal infection can develop when bacteria gets into the pulp and roots of the tooth. As bacteria builds up, it can give off an unpleasant odor.

If our Cathedral City patients notice that they consistently have foul breath, even though they are practicing good oral hygiene habits, it may be a sign of oral health problems, such as root canal infection.

Contact Us

Individuals experiencing any potential symptoms of a root canal infection should see a dentist to have their teeth and gums examined so that any necessary restorative dentistry treatment can be performed. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bruno Lemay, contact us at your earliest convenience or call (760) 324-4450.

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