Dentist Questions Root Canal

Do I need a root canal if there's no pain?

My dentist told me that I need to have a root canal, but I haven't felt any pain in that tooth at all. Is it possible to need a root canal when I didn't feel any pain?

15 Answers

Yes, clinically and through X-rays; a pain-free tooth can show signs and need for a root canal.
Yes it is possible that the infection may be dormant but can cause an emergency later at a inconvenient time.
Pain is not the only criteria that determines whether a tooth needs a root canal. Sometimes there is no pain, or the nerve in the tooth could already be dead, in which case you may not have any pain. However, it would be a mistake to ignore this, as a tooth with a dead nerve will eventually get infected and cause you pain at a later time.
Sometimes the tooth may die and develop a lesion around the roots in the bone and still have no pain. If that lesion is visible in an Xray it has to receive a root canal immediately, as it indicates a gangrenous nerve.
Yes. We can see on X-rays areas of infection or decay that goes into the nerve of the tooth. Any of these reasons can necessitate a root canal. Not always does it have to hurt to need one

Good luck
Dr David Wiseman
Pain is not the only indication of possible need for root canal treatment. Often, a nerve may die without pain and an abscess on X-ray would be an indication of need of treatment.
If there is no pain and you are told you need a root canal, be sure to have dentist show proof on the X-ray that there is an infection at the root area. Many times that is the case and infection is present, but not hurting yet. There is no need to do an automatic root canal just because the cavity is "deep." Try a conservative filling first and see it it succeeds.


Laurene K Duke, DDS, APDC
You can't always rely on the pain factor. Your dentist probably has seen some other indications on the x-ray.
The short answer is yes, you may need the root canal treatment even if there is no pain. Just as high blood pressure is often called "The Silent Killer," no pain, but it can become serious if ignored. If the nerve in the tooth is dead, how can it feel pain? There is no good time for root canal, so take care of it when it is less inconvenient because it will never be convenient. You can wait till it hurts, but if it blows up, Murphy's Law says it will happen at the worst time - Saturday night, boarding a plane for a long overdue vacation, your kid's wedding, the holidays, etc. Be happy it doesn't hurt. Bad enough to need root canal, why suffer too?
Good Luck.
Yes, there are many indications for root canal treatment that have absolutely no pain.
Yes, it is very possible to need a root canal even if you are not having any pain. If there is evidence of infection, regardless of your symptoms, a root canal may be indicated. If you do not trust your dentist’s opinion, then find an endodontist (a specialist in root canals) and go in for a consultation. They will be able to determine if you need a root canal or not, and can help explain things in more detail in person.
Good luck!
Yes it is possible. Your dentist may have seen something upon radiographic and clinical examination.

Dr. Stella Carollo
Yes, that can happen.
YOU CAN HAVE A TOOTH THAT NEEDS A ROOT CANAL AND NOT FEEL ANY PAIN. YOUR TOOTH MAY BE INFECTED, BUT YOU STILL DON'T FEEL ANY PAIN. YOUR GUMS MAY BE INFECTED, BUT YOUR BODY IS HANDLING THE INFECTION. Infection anywhere in your body just doesn't stay in one place. There was a theory that the body was too good and could handle anything. Evidence through research is showing us that bacteria can move throughout the body and cause different inflammatory processes. That tooth that is not bothering you at the present can all of a sudden flare up, and start letting you know "IT'S SHOW TIME!" HAVING ONE TOOTH FLARE UP IS BAD ENOUGH, BUT YOUR BODY COMMUNICATES VIA THE BLOOD STREAM AND IF THERE ARE ANY PROBLEMS WITH SOME OTHER TEETH, YOU CAN BE IN A "PAIN STORM." This does not happen often. But it can be hard to control the pain while the INFECTION is getting under control. Any non-symptomatic infection can become a serious problem. A non-symptomatic problem can be out of sight, out of mind. When we least need something to happen......
Usually, pain is involved, but when the nerve dies, you will need a root canal, and an X-ray would be very important to confirm it.