What Happens if You Delay a Root Canal?

What Happens if You Delay a Root Canal?

If you’re experiencing tooth pain, sensitivity, or swelling, you may be suffering from damage that requires dental treatment, such as a deep cavity or a tooth abscess. Yet many people delay their visit to the dentist. As many as 36% of Americans report having dental anxiety or fear of receiving dental treatments. 

In this blog, our expert endodontists at Cherry Family Dental in South San Jose, California, explain why a root canal is a must to save your tooth — and why you shouldn’t delay treatment. Modern dentistry has made root canals more comfortable for patients. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is a root canal? 

When a cavity is deep enough to reach the nerve inside the tooth, the process of salvaging the damaged tooth is referred to as a root canal. Unlike a regular filling, a root canal procedure also involves seeing an endodontist to treat the infection and remove the damaged tissue inside the tooth, down to the roots. 

As with a regular filling, we start by completely numbing the area. You should not feel pain during the procedure, and fixing the tooth also eliminates the pain you were having before getting a root canal.

Next, our experts drill a small hole into the tooth and then use thin needles called endodontic files to clean out the root canals and remove bacteria and infected tissue. After cleaning and disinfecting the root canals, your provider dries out the inside of the tooth and fills it with gutta percha, a rubber-like material.

The gutta percha creates a seal and prevents infection. A filling or a crown may be required to restore the aesthetics and functionality of the tooth and also to help protect it.

The entire procedure saves your tooth so your mouth and jaw maintain good function. Depending on how damaged your tooth is, a root canal may take one or two visits to the dental office. 

Possible complications of delaying treatment 

When left untreated, the infection found in the tooth can spread to your gums and jaw, leading to a dental abscess. A dental abscess is a pocket of puss accompanied by symptoms such as fever, inflammation, pain, and swelling. 

If an abscess goes untreated, the infection can spread even further. It can potentially be life-threatening, especially for those with a weakened immune system. 

Our experts treat abscesses by draining the pus and prescribing antibiotics to clear the infection. If the affected tooth can’t be saved due to the damage, it must be extracted.

Let us salvage your tooth

When you delay a root canal treatment, a deep cavity or an infection can lead to a serious infection and tooth loss. But when you receive treatment promptly, you can salvage the tooth and prevent infection-associated complications. You’ll also spend fewer financial resources on the treatment. 

If you’ve been putting off getting that toothache examined — for any reason — don’t delay any longer. Contact us to schedule an appointment. Our staff is happy to diagnose and treat your damaged tooth to ensure you have a healthy smile.

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