What Happens if You Delay a Root Canal?

What Happens if You Delay a Root Canal?

Root canals have a bad reputation. But no matter what horror stories you may have heard, modern approaches have made this treatment straightforward and relatively painless. And, believe it or not, dentists in the United States perform more than 41,000 root canals each day.

In this blog, Dr. Benedict Kim at A Caring Dental Group in Cleveland, Ohio, explains why a root canal can save your tooth — and why you shouldn’t delay treatment. Even if you’re one of the 36% of Americans living with dental anxiety or fear, Dr. Kim can keep you comfortable and save your tooth. Here’s what you need to know. 

How a root canal works

You need a root canal to salvage a damaged tooth when a cavity or infection reaches the nerve deep inside the tooth. Unlike getting a filling for a regular cavity, a root canal procedure involves treating the infection and removing the damaged tissue inside the tooth, all the way down to the roots. 

The process starts in a similar way to a regular dental filling — with our team numbing the affected area completely. That means you don’t feel anything during your procedure. And undergoing the root canal itself eliminates the pain you were having before your appointment.

Once your mouth is sufficiently numb, Dr. Kim drills a small hole into the tooth. He uses this opening to insert small tools to clean out the tooth’s interior, into the root canals, removing bacteria and infected tissue. 

After Dr. Kim cleans and disinfects the inside of your tooth, he dries it out and refills it with a rubber-like dental material known as gutta percha. This step creates a protective seal over the hole and prevents further infection inside the tooth. 

Finally, Dr. Kim uses a filling or a crown to restore the appearance, function, and protection to your tooth.

Why you shouldn’t delay a root canal

Undergoing a root canal to remove infection not only saves your tooth, but it also maintains the function and integrity of your mouth and jaw. When you try to ignore it, a tooth infection can spread to your gums and jaw.

When the infection spreads beyond the tooth, it leads to a painful dental abscess, which involves a pocket of pus and symptoms like pain, fever, inflammation, and swelling. Without treatment, an abscess infection can spread further, and even become life-threatening, especially for patients with a weakened immune system. 

Dr. Kim treats abscesses by draining the pus and prescribing antibiotics to clear the infection. However, he must extract the tooth if the damage is too severe to save it.

Save your tooth — and your wallet

Scheduling a root canal promptly is the only way to save your tooth and avoid more serious complications. Getting treatment sooner than later makes the entire process easier, and you’ll spend less money on dental work if you address the problem before it becomes more extensive. 

Have you been putting off getting that toothache examined? Don’t wait any longer. Contact A Caring Dental Group to schedule an appointment by calling 216-230-9094 or booking a visit online today. Dr. Kim is happy to diagnose and treat your tooth problems to ensure you have a healthy smile.

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