Endodontics of Orange County Shares Root Canal Tests Used to Find the Source of Tooth Pain

Occasionally it is difficult for dentists and root canal specialists to find the source of tooth pain. To find the tooth pain source or a non-dental pain source, Endodontics of Orange County board certified endodontist, Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S., teaches dentists that the key to locating the tooth pain source is a methodical and organized approach. Besides a confident and caring bedside manner, Irvine root canal specialist Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. mends patient fears with useful coaching on what to expect before each test. With a gentle touch and compassion, tests to find the source of tooth pain are completed quickly and recorded by his endodontic assistant.

Irvine Endodontist Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. is an Expert in Endodontic Tests to Find Tooth Pain Location


            The goal of this tooth pain diagnosis test is find out if there is tender bone near the root end of a tooth. This soreness is present when our body defends us against the pain creating, irritated pulp contents in the root canal. Other sources includes developing infection from a prior root canal treatment, a fracture in a root, or a gum problem. After teaching you the endodontic test procedure, how to share results, and receiving your ok, Dr. Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. uses his index finger to apply gentle pressure on your gum tissue next to the end of root of a few teeth in the area of concern. He asks whether you feel any discomfort after palpating each root and relays the results to his assistant to input responses.  


            Teeth tender to tapping may have biting trauma, a root crack, and/or have a root canal problem. Before tapping the teeth with anything, for this endodontic diagnosis test, Dr. Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. starts by touching the top of teeth with his finger, one at a time. This will prevent an unpleasant reaction from the tissue that connects a tender tooth to the jawbone.

Bite Test 

Click for Dr. Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. YouTube Video

            The endodontic diagnosis bite test reveals irritation of the periodontal ligament. Causes include an irritated nerve, a crack in a tooth, or an infection from bacteria in the gums or root canals. Dr. Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. uses a bite test instrument to reveal individual cusp sensitivity. Starting on teeth distant from the bothered area, he will ask you to bite down with medium, steady pressure, hold the bite for a second or two, and then quickly let up. The endodontic assistant will note the results for each sensitive cusp, its degree of sensitivity, and whether it was tender to bite or on release of biting.

            Often, patients complain of soreness on release of biting plus a quick, strong cold reaction. These teeth suffer from the Cracked Tooth Syndrome. Watch the AAE video on Cracked Teeth. Often placing a crown will resolve these symptoms. If a crown is already present, then root canal treatment defeats the suffering.

Cold Test 

Click for Dr. Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. YouTube Video

            Often patients get a huge ouch from cold and/or hot drinks/food. The tooth pulp is finally willing to let their owner know that it is time to get an appointment to test for the source of tooth pain. It will be a tooth that has not already received root canal treatment. Unless we are confident which tooth is the pain source, as a result of x-ray review and prior endodontic test measurements, Dr. Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. will carefully use ice or cool water to find the problem tooth. 


To reach a final plan, board certified endodontist, Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. reviews the dental history and asks questions that relate to the chief complaint.  Listening to this useful news results in using the right endodontic diagnosis tests needed reach the final answer.

Upper teeth may refer to the lower arch. When there is a complaint of pain at the lower and all teeth test normal, Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. evaluates the upper area too. If the source of pain is not found, we may reschedule you to return to Endodontics of Orange County in a week.

If your dentist can’t find the source of your pain, ask for a referral to a root canal specialist for endodontic diagnosis testing. We do pulp testing all day long at our Irvine, California endodontic specialist practice. Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. usually finds the pain source promptly.

Occlusal trauma may cause pulpal damage. Keep track of how many bite corrections you had. After two or three, and your tooth pain continues to upset your life, root canal treatment is a kind service. Good News: Endodontic treatment gets rid of a tooth's ability to respond to hot or cold.

A tooth does not have to linger several minutes before it needs root canal treatment. If one tooth lingers for ten seconds to cold or hot compared to three seconds for other teeth, and the chief complaint is lingering cold sensitivity, then this is the tooth needing root canal treatment.

It just isn’t true that what you don’t see doesn’t hurt.  Like retail where the customer is always right, if the patient says there is pain, then there is pain. It is a dentist’s job to locate the source of pain or refer their patient to someone who can locate it.

Please let Endodontics of Orange County and endodontist Sam R. Gharib, D.M.D., M.S. help you get out of pain. Call us or Contact Us. We accommodate emergency patients on the same day of your call.



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