The Symptoms of a Root Canal Infection By Kleinheinz Dentistry on February 04, 2022

An illustration of a tooth with infected pulp and an abscess A root canal infection occurs when bacteria reaches the soft tissues, or dental pulp, within the inner chambers of the tooth. Root canal infections can cause serious damage and should be treated as soon as possible with root canal therapy. Root canal therapy, commonly called a root canal, can restore oral health and alleviate the symptoms of painful root canal infections.

Like root canal infections, many dental problems can cause pain and discomfort. Knowing the symptoms of root canal infections can help when considering treatment. At Kleinheinz Dentistry, Drs. Jeffrey Kleinheinz and Katrina Ashlin provide root canal therapy to relieve root canal infection symptoms for patients in the Charlotte, NC, area. If you suspect you have a root canal infection, we welcome you to schedule an appointment to learn more about your treatment options.

In the meantime, we’d like to take a closer look at the symptoms of root canal infections to help our patients understand when they may be dealing with a root canal infection and should seek treatment.

The Symptoms of Root Canal Infections

Root canal infections have many possible symptoms. Some of these symptoms are common to other dental health issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease. It’s important to see a dentist whenever you develop a new oral health symptom because it may be an indication of a root canal infection or some other problem.

With that said, the following are some possible symptoms of root canal infections that should not be ignored.


Pain is one of the most common symptoms of a root canal infection for our Charlotte patients. Root canal infections are painful because they affect the inner structures of the tooth, which include blood vessels and nerves. 

Pain from root canal infections may be present at all times but often becomes worse when biting down or when the tooth is exposed to hot or cold foods and drinks. 

Gum Inflammation and Tenderness

Gum inflammation, or swelling, is a possible symptom of a root canal infection. Swelling may occur along the gum line around the infected tooth. It’s common for gum inflammation to cause the gums to feel sore and they may appear more red than their usual color. 

A Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a collection of pus that forms a pocket at the tip of an infected tooth’s root. Abscesses are painful and can cause bad breath. 

If left untreated, abscesses can make their way from the tooth’s root to the gums. When this happens, a bump may form on the outside of the gums. Sometimes pus will leak from this bump, releasing a foul odor. 

Darkening Tooth

Root canal infections can cause the teeth to become darker in color. Infected root canals may turn brown without treatment, causing the tooth to darken to a yellow or brown color. 

Bad Breath

Root canal infections can cause bad breath that persists even after brushing, flossing, or rinsing with mouthwash. 

Bad breath can come from the root canal infection itself or from an abscess if present. For some people, root canal infections may also leave a bad taste in their mouth. This is especially true for people with leaking abscesses. 

Relieve Root Canal Infection Symptoms With Treatment

Root canal infections can cause tooth loss as well as spread to surrounding tissues and through the bloodstream if left untreated. 

Root canal therapy is an effective treatment for clearing root canal infections and alleviating symptoms. With root canal therapy, the infected pulp tissues from inside the tooth, along with damaged areas of the tooth are removed. The inside of the tooth is cleaned and the structure of the tooth restored with a dental crown.

Find Out if Root Canal Therapy Is Right for You

If you are experiencing root canal infection symptoms, we encourage you to call (704) 542-6003 to schedule a consultation at our Charlotte dental practice.

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Kleinheinz Dentistry

Drs. Jeffrey S. Kleinheinz and Katrina Ashlin provide comfortable and convenient dental care to patients of all ages. Our dentists are proud to be affiliated with:

  • The American Dental Association
  • The North Carolina Dental Society
  • The Charlotte Dental Society

You can schedule an appointment at our office in Charlotte, NC, by contacting us online or calling (704) 542-6003.

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