How do you know you need a root canal?

Only a dentist can know for absolutely sure, but if you have severe tooth pain or an abscess (an infection of the tooth that can involve swollen gums or jaw), then it's likely you might need one. Any of these symptoms are signs to call your dentist.

Root canals are often feared as being horribly painful, but thanks to modern anesthesia they are now only merely uncomfortable at worst. It is best to have one done by an endodontist who specializes in them, and be sure they are using gutta-percha to fill the space left by the nerve, and nothing else.