3 Most Common Root Canal Causes One Should Know About

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Have you been advised to get root canal treatment? But you are wondering what are the potential causes that lead you to a root canal and curious to know more about the treatment?

Continue to read this article then to clear all your doubts on root canal causes and treatment.

A. What are Root Canals?

A root canal is a treatment methodology recommended for treating a tooth infection. You may be advised to get a root canal procedure done by your dentist if they sense an infection in your root canal which constitutes the inner part of your tooth. Root canal treatments are mostly suggested by dentists to preserve natural teeth.

(Retain your natural smile, get this standard procedure done! Click here to read how to fix an asymmetrical jaw.)

B. Symptoms of Root Canal Infection

1. Tooth Pain

If your tooth hurts, there is a possibility that the cause is an infection. Most teeth are likely to start hurting when lack of hygiene lets the allowed bacteria reach the interior of the tooth, causing an infection. Tooth pain, if caused by this reason, can easily be solved by a root canal.

10031744 woman pressing her bruised cheek with a painful expression
by BDS / unlimphotos

2. Formation of Pimples

Aside from pain while biting, pimples on gums can indicate root canal infection.

3. Darkened Gums

Deep decay can lead to the darkening of gums which can also be an indication of bacterial invasion of the root canal.

4. Painful Gums

Your gums might get swollen and in turn, cause pain. This can also be one of the symptoms and can be resolved by root canals in some cases.

C. Root Canal Causes

Root canal causes are most easily noticeable. Identifying root canal causes at the right time plays a major role in the treatment. Good oral hygiene, though important cannot guarantee that your teeth are healthy with no infection.

Read on for some of the root canal causes to help you get your dental procedure done on time.

1. Damaged Teeth

Your teeth may be cracked, chipped, or fractured and this is one of the potential root canal causes. You will need root canal therapy if your teeth are disfigured. Any damage to the exterior part of teeth can affect the pulp chamber.

Now if you are wondering what causes teeth to get damaged? Read on to find out then.

• Trauma

Any accident can cause damage to the teeth. Have you taken a football to your face as a child? It may manifest as a tooth infection as an adult. If you are wondering how you randomly have an infection in your teeth as an adult, it may be linked to childhood trauma. Other accidents like a car accident or any sports-related injury to the mouth can also affect the teeth.

• Fractured Teeth

Like other bones in the body, the enamel can also get fractured. When you chew hard substances, the impact can fracture your teeth.

A hard stone or any such particle mixed with your food which you might unintentionally bite into can cause tooth fracture which in turn is one of the root canal causes. While chewing, mal-grinding of teeth can cause a fracture that root canals can repair.

2. Repeated Dental Procedures

Removing and replacing old fillings or large fillings can also cause swelling and trauma to nerves in the teeth and you may need to get a root canal to rectify the damage caused before it turns into a graver infection. Generally, if a tooth has a large filling it is likely to need a root canal, so repeated dental procedures can be one of the root canal causes.

3. Tooth Decay

Decayed teeth are one of the major root canal causes. Tooth decay, also known as root cavities becomes one of the potential root canal causes when left untreated. You may feel sensitive when you eat or drink something that is too hot or too cold. However, there is a chance that your tooth decay is treatable without a root canal.

If the tooth decay has advanced and caused a greater degree of damage, it becomes one of the root canal causes. When your teeth degenerate, they will provide bacteria with a pathway to reach the tooth pulp. When deep decay happens and if you fail to get the teeth fixed on time, then there is a chance of nerve damage. 

A badly decayed tooth can also cause an abscess. The abscess left untreated will intensify the problem. This can cause pain and swelling. This happens when the jaw bones start to get affected and give rise to a new infection in the tooth pulp. The tooth pulp with the infected nerve can then be removed by root canal. Severe tooth decay may require the infected tooth to be extracted.

D. Root Canal Treatment

Once one of the potential root canal causes has been determined, getting it treated as soon as possible is important. The warning signs of root canal infections can be detected by your general dentist and root canal procedures may be recommended accordingly.

A root canal procedure may sound complicated but most root canals are not painful.

9215580 doctor with x ray
by GekaSkr / unlimphotos

Beneath the hard exterior layer of the tooth enamel, there are several nerves(dental pulp), blood vessels, and soft tissues that take care of your tooth during its initial days of formation. Once the tooth sprouts out of the gums, your tooth no longer needs them. The only purpose the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue serve in an adult tooth is detecting hot, cold, and other stimuli.

When a dentist senses a root canal infection, the tooth’s nerves, other unnecessary tissues, and infected material are removed, instead of getting the tooth extracted.

Root canal infections are very common and root canal therapy is the most practical method to preserve your natural tooth.

A root canal is a common procedure that involves the following steps:

  1. Local anesthesia will be administered at the start of the dental procedure by the dentist. The function of local anesthesia is to ensure no pain is felt during the procedure.
  2. A hole will be drilled on the infected tooth to remove the infected material including the nerve, pulp, and tissues, using certain tools.
  3. The root canal is cleaned and decontaminated. A rubber dam surrounds the tooth to keep the region dry and saliva-free.
  4. Then the dentist will cover the drilled access hole permanently or temporarily. A temporary filling using binding materials like the rubber compound gutta-percha may be done on the same day. If required, other filling materials may be done to prevent pain till the crown is ready. If a customized crown is not necessary, the tooth can be sealed off permanently.
  5. Additional endodontic treatment like filling or other methods might be recommended by your dental provider depending on the intensity of your case.

Most root canal procedures are easy to treat. The main root canal treatment is one of the simplest dental procedures and takes less than an hour. This may be followed by one or two review sittings with your dentist which may take less than 15 minutes.

E. Does a Root Canal Hurt?

A root canal might sound scary at the outset. Drilling teeth and taking the bacteria out might seem very frightening to some people. However, do not hesitate to see your dentist if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. The local anesthesia given at the start of the treatment will numb out most of the pain. Most patients feel little to no pain during the procedure. But the chance of some patients experiencing some discomfort after the treatment for a few days still exists.

F. Cost of Root Canal Procedure

The estimated cost for root canal procedures is as follows:

  • Front tooth- $600-$900
  • Molar-$1000-$1500
  • Bicuspid tooth-$700-$1000

Root canal cost varies depending on the intensity of your case. This price mentioned above excludes the crown cost. The crown may cost around $1000.

Different dentists may quote different prices for the root canal procedure so the cost also depends on the clinic you visit.

root canal causes
Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

Root canals are very common among dental procedures. Most dentists prefer a root canal treatment in case of a root canal infection to retain natural teeth as the procedure is efficient and simple in most.

You will need to follow basic measures like brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist at least once in six months after getting a root canal procedure. Following good oral hygiene is the only way to ensure your mouth remains free from infection for a long time and your healthy smile is maintained.

Now there you go, everything you need to know about root canal causes and the treatment.

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Many teeth that have undergone root canal last forever without requiring further treatment. However, a lot depends on the intensity of your case and how well you maintain oral hygiene after your treatment.

It is advisable to get it treated so that the infection does not spread to other teeth. See your dentist as soon as possible once you start seeing any of the above symptoms. Identify the root canal causes at the earliest and get early treatment.


Our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


  1. I had no idea that a root canal could help prolong the health of your teeth and save it from further cavity damage. My brother talked about helping his in-law regain his smile again. Maybe we should find a dentist that could perform this treatment for him!


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