Paul Kobernick, D.D.S., F.R.C.D. (C)

Listed below are 9 signs and symptoms that

indicate you probably DO NOT need root canal treatment



Further information


You have pain when you chew and/or drink hot or cold liquids. The pain is mild in nature and not prolonged.

Many times this pain is felt after a recent dental procedure such as a filling or a crown. A rule of thumb is that if the pain does not subside within a 6 week period of time or becomes increasingly severe, then a root canal will be required.


You have pain when you drink cold liquids, but the pain goes away immediately or within a few seconds.

This is a normal response and may exist throughout your life.


You have pain when you eat sweets, but the pain doesn't last very long.

You probably have a cavity, loose/broken filling or areas of the root surface that are exposed (receeded gums). Root canal therapy in this case would only be indicated if the decay is deep and touches the nerve (pulpal tissue).


You have swelling on the gum area around the tooth. The tooth may be sensitive to touch however there is no pain when drinking hot or cold liquids. The pain may be severe but when you brush or poke around the area the pain is relieved.

This type of pain is usually indicative of a periodontal abcess not a root canal problem. Often the endodontist or dentist will take a radiograph (x-ray) of the area and perform a series of tests to see if the tooth's pulpul tissue is responding normally or not. A normal response (no pain from the pulpul tissue) means the problem is most probably periodontal and not endodontic in nature.


You have pain in a group of teeth, non-specific in nature and usually agrravated while walking downstairs or jumping.

This type of pain is usually reflective of sinusitus and root canal is not required.


You have pain to touch or squeezing in the cheek areas or you have increased pain and difficulty to open your mouth in the mornings. .

This may be bruxism pain due to clenching or grinding your teeth at night.


You have momentary pain to cold air.

Because the pain is only momentary, it is still within normal limits -- however watch that the situation does not worsen.


You experience sharp pain when biting down on a tooth usually in a specific way

You may have a cracked tooth, which may or may not end up with root canal but will require a full crown restoration to prevent the fracture from increasing in size.


You have electric type pain -- sharp and shooting, similar to that of chewing on tin foil. 

This is galvanic pain. It is typically related to metal fillings in your mouth. If it becomes a consistent problem, see your dentist and you may consider having your filling changed to a non-metal filling.

Click here for a look at symptoms that indicate YOU MAY NEED ROOT CANAL TREATMENT

Dr. Paul Kobernick

5530 Wisconsin Ave., NW  Suite 814

Chevy Chase, MD 20815

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8:30 AM until 5:00 PM


Office:  301-913-0600

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