What Happens If You Don't Get a Root Canal?
A root canal is a tooth-saving procedure. When a tooth is infected, root canal therapy can treat the infection and repair the tooth. A tooth that is severely decayed or damaged may be at risk of infection, and root canal therapy can prevent bacteria from invading the tooth.
But what happens if you need a root canal and don’t get one? The outcome may not be favorable. Learn about the importance of timing when it comes to root canal therapy.
What is a Root Canal?
The root canal is the inner chamber of a tooth that begins at the lower portion of the crown and extends down into the root. It contains dental pulp, soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves that sustain the tooth. Root canal therapy is a procedure that is performed on the root canal tissue.
During a root canal, a small hole is made in the crown of the tooth to access the root canal. The dental pulp is extracted from the tooth and the root canal is flushed out and disinfected. The tooth is filled with a replacement material that fortifies the tooth and is resistant to infection. In most cases a crown will be placed over the tooth following root canal therapy.
Reasons for Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy may be recommended in the following cases:
- Toothache. A toothache typically indicates an infection of the dental pulp. Root canal therapy can eliminate the infection and restore the health of the tooth.
- Deep cavity. A tooth with a deep cavity is at risk of infection. Bacteria may enter the root canal through a cavity and infect the dental pulp. Root canal therapy can prevent infection.
- Damaged tooth. A tooth that has been bumped or chipped may be at risk of infection or may begin to break down from the inside. Root canal therapy can prevent a damaged tooth from developing an infection.
- Cracked tooth. A cracked tooth is also at risk of infection, as bacteria could enter the root canal through the crack. Root canal therapy is typically recommended for a cracked tooth, as well as a crown.
Why You Should Not Put Off a Root Canal
If your dentist recommends a root canal, it is best to get it taken care of as soon as possible. A tooth that is already infected needs root canal therapy right away to save the tooth and stop the infection from spreading to your other teeth and oral tissues.
Root canal therapy that is performed proactively on a tooth that is at a high risk of infection can prevent you from getting a toothache and offers a greater chance of saving the tooth. The longer you wait, the higher your risk of pain and the potential for tooth loss.
Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canal Therapy
Is a root canal painful?
The idea that root canal therapy is painful is a myth. Local anesthesia is used for root canal procedures so that you won’t feel any pain. If you are anxious about the procedure, we offer sedation options to help you feel more relaxed.
How long does a root canal take?
The average root canal procedure for a single tooth takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. If there are multiple teeth that need therapy or if a tooth has a particularly complex root structure, the procedure could take 90 minutes.
Why Go to an Endodontist for Root Canal Therapy?
Endodontists specialize in root canal therapy and other endodontic procedures that restore the health of the teeth from the inside. Heart of Texas Endodontics has the expertise and advanced technology that offers the best chance of saving your teeth and keeping them in place for the rest of your life.