Do you have a tooth that needs a root canal? Your dentist may recommend a root canal for a tooth that is infected or has severe decay that has reached the inner pulp of the tooth. Ideally, a root canal procedure will save the tooth so that it can retain proper function and appearance.
Many people fear getting a root canal. Somehow the phrase “root canal” became synonymous with something painful or extremely unpleasant. But a root canal procedure is no more painful than a routine cavity filling. It is performed under local anesthesia for most patients, unless you prefer to be sedated, which is always an option. Even so, many people still avoid the procedure.
Neglecting a Root Canal has Negative Consequences
What happens if you don’t get a root canal when you need one? There are a number of potential consequences, and none of them are ideal.
- Your tooth will become painful.If your tooth doesn’t hurt now, it eventually will if you don’t get the root canal procedure your dentist recommends. When the inner pulp of a tooth becomes exposed and infected, the nerves inside your tooth are affected. If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know it is an acute type of pain you don’t want to experience again.
- You may have sensitivity.On a lesser scale, when the inner pulp of your tooth is exposed due to decay it can cause sensitivity to cold, heat, and sugar. Sensitivity can be painful and usually subsides after a moment. But in the case of a tooth that needs a root canal, the sensitive tooth feeling can resonate for longer and become quite uncomfortable. The is just a precursor to the inevitable pain described above.
- The infection may spread. When the tooth is infected and nothing is done to treat the infection, it tends to spread. So in addition to one tooth that needs a root canal, now the adjacent teeth may also need a root canal if the infection spreads. It can also spread to the gum tissue and into the jaw. At this point the infection will surely cause you pain as it grows and festers.
- You could lose your tooth. Worst case scenario, the tooth will deteriorate beyond the point of restoration and will either fall out or you’ll need to have it extracted. This will result in a gap in your mouth or the need for a replacement tooth, such as a dental implant or bridge. Replacing the tooth is always the best option because leaving a gap can cause the other teeth to shift out of place and puts the surrounding teeth at a higher risk of decay.
- Your overall health and ultimately your life could be at risk. Bacterial infections can be serious. An infected tooth that is left untreated can spread to the tissues of the face and enter the bloodstream. It can eventually restrict breathing and may even lead to sepsis (infection of the blood that is often fatal). While these situations are the extreme rather than the norm, it is still important to understand the potentially severe consequences of ignoring an infected tooth.
Don’t Fear a Root Canal at Contemporary Endodontics of Oklahoma
It is normal to be anxious or even fearful of getting a root canal. At Contemporary Endodontics of Oklahoma we provide a range of anesthesia and sedation options to make the procedure painless and to help you relax. You can be completely awake with just local anesthesia or partially sedated with oral or IV sedation.
We specialize in endodontics, which refers to the roots of teeth and the dental pulp inside of the teeth. This means we have plenty of experience performing root canals. During this procedure we will remove the infected tissue from inside the tooth and fill the canal with composite resin to prevent reinfection. In most cases, if your root canal is done when it is first recommended, the tooth can be saved. So don’t wait. Schedule your appointment today.