How Long Can You Put Off A Root Canal?

Team Endodontics

If you’ve been told by your dentist that you need a root canal, you should schedule the treatment as soon as possible. Root canals preserve teeth that otherwise may require extraction. Unfortunately, if you continue to delay your root canal therapy, you’re likely to experience worsening pain or a more severe infection that spreads throughout your mouth. Read on to learn more about root canal therapy. 

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

If your dentist tells you that you need a root canal, it is because severe decay and damage have reached the interior (pulp) of your tooth. This decay and damage may stem from an injury, from a deep cavity, or problems stemming from an earlier filling. You may also need a root canal to repair a chipped or cracked tooth. 

Indications that you may have an infection in the pulp of your tooth include:

  • Intense pain when biting or chewing
  • Visibly chipped or cracked tooth
  • Swollen gums
  • Painful gums
  • Darkening gums
  • Extreme sensitivity to temperatures

Root canals help you to preserve your natural teeth, which is always preferable to extraction. When you extract a tooth, you begin to lose jaw bone, because the root of the tooth is also extracted. So all efforts to preserve natural teeth should be exhausted before extracting a tooth. Root canals are the best option for preserving your natural teeth and preventing jaw bone loss.

What Happens During a Root Canal?

A root canal is a common procedure that is no more painful than getting a cavity filled. The entire area surrounding the affected tooth will be completely numbed. Your dentist will then drill a small hole in the top of your tooth to access the pulp. The pulp will be removed, along with bacteria causing the infection. All of the channels of the interior tooth (known as canals) will be thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected.

The canals will then be filled with a biocompatible material to seal them off. In most cases, a temporary filling will be used to seal the hole that was drilled in the tooth. The tooth will be covered with a dental crown that matches your other teeth and functions like your normal tooth. 

The entire root canal therapy procedure generally takes just over an hour. You will be able to return to normal activities immediately. You may experience some tenderness, and you should take pain relievers as prescribed by your dentist. You should also plan to eat soft foods in the hours immediately following your procedure. Your dentist may also prescribe a course of antibiotics to kill any residual infection. Take all medication exactly as prescribed. 

Risks of Delaying a Root Canal

It is not advisable to delay needed root canal therapy. Infections in the pulp of the tooth will not resolve on their own. Left untreated, severely decayed or infected teeth often develop an abscess. 

An abscess is a pus-filled sac that is very painful and may cause worsening symptoms including fever, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, facial swelling, and pain in the jaw, neck, or ear. 

Another risk of delaying a root canal is the need to have the tooth extracted. Moreover,  an untreated infected tooth may lead to gum disease which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease including stroke and heart attack. 

Root Canal Therapy in Morganville

If you’re dealing with any tooth pain at all, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible. Treatments such as root canals, which are completely quick and painless can alleviate your pain, and restore your oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling . You may also request an appointment online.