People with darkened teeth, tender and swollen gums, persistent acne on the gums, extended sensitivity to cold or heat in the mouth, or who experience severe pain when chewing exhibit symptoms indicating that a root canal may be necessary. Diagnosis includes an X-ray of the root canals, according to WebMD.
The purpose of the X-ray imaging of the root canals is to detect infection in the bone around the canals. After the X-ray, anesthesia numbs the mouth around the tooth before drilling a hole to give access inside the affected tooth. The dentist removes the interior pulp, any bacteria, the dead nerves and any other debris from the tooth before using a set of files to clean the root canal sides, flushing occasionally with sodium hypochlorite or water, as stated by WebMD.