Do I Need a Root Canal?

If you have an aching tooth you may be asking yourself, “Do I need a root canal?” Endodontic treatment may be crucial for protecting your smile from the consequences of an infection, such as tooth loss. Despite rumors to the contrary, this is a safe and comfortable procedure, one many patients compare to receiving a dental filling.

Common Questions About Root Canal Therapy

Question: What causes a dental infection?

Answer: An infection occurs once bacteria reach the inner pulp, which keeps your tooth alive and healthy. Bacteria then cause an infection. The tooth can become exposed to bacteria through damage, such as cracks or chips, or tooth decay.

Question: How do I know if I need endodontic treatment?

Answer: The common warning signs of an infection include a persistent toothache or tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures that doesn’t subside within 48 hours. As the issue progresses, other warning signs may include fever, swelling by the tooth, a foul tasting discharge, or pain when biting down or chewing your food.

Question: What does the procedure involve?

Answer: First, the doctor administers a local anesthetic to ensure the patient feels comfortable. The tooth is then opened so the doctor can remove the infected tissue, clean the interior of the tooth, and add a restorative filling. Finally, the tooth will be capped with a custom-made dental crown to return the tooth to full function and health.

Question: When does a tooth require extraction?

Answer: If the infection isn’t treated the tooth may actually die, which means an extraction is necessary to prevent the infection from reaching surrounding teeth or the jawbone. If you have a tooth removed then we can discuss possible replacement options. Your dentist may offer a dental bridge or possible a dental implant.


Calcagno Cosmetic and Family Dentistry offer expert services including teeth whitening, Six Month Smiles, Invisalign, root canals, and CEREC crowns. To schedule a consultation, please call (507) 218-8936. Dr. Gilly Calcagno and Dr. Kara Heimer welcome and serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, Austin, and the surrounding communities.