When a tooth needs a root canal, it means that the tooth is in danger. It could be that the tooth is infected or that there is a high risk of infection due to damage to the enamel of the tooth. If your dentist has recommended a root canal, how long can it wait?
A root canal may be able to save the tooth, but timing is important. Letting a tooth go without a root canal decreases the chances that the tooth can be saved. How long can you go without getting a root canal? Here’s what you should know.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure used to restore a tooth that is infected or at risk of infection. The dental pulp, the soft tissue at the center of each tooth, is removed. The root canal is cleaned out and disinfected to remove all of the tissue. Then 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 for protection. This process is referred to as root canal treatment.
Why Does My Tooth Need a Root Canal?
A tooth may need a root canal for a variety of reasons:
- Cavities. Tooth decay can cause a deep cavity or multiple cavities that put the tooth at risk for infection.
- Cracked tooth. A cracked tooth will need a root canal to prevent infection and a crown to prevent the crack from worsening.
- Broken tooth. A broken tooth may be restored with a root canal and a crown if there is enough enamel left.
- Infected tooth. A tooth that is already infected will need a root canal to remove the infected tissue and restore the tooth.
Can a Root Canal Wait?
There are many reasons why it is important not to put off a root canal:
- Pain. Putting off a root canal can result in pain. If the tooth doesn’t hurt now, it will if it becomes infected. A root canal performed at the right time can prevent pain.
- The infection may spread. An infected tooth can spread to neighboring teeth, the gum tissue, and even enter your bloodstream where it can travel to other parts of your body. It is best for your overall health to have a root canal taken care of when it is first recommended.
- The tooth may not be saved. If you put a root canal off for too long, the damage may become too great for the tooth to be saved and it will need to be extracted.
Does a Root Canal Hurt?
Many people put off getting a root canal because they are afraid the procedure will hurt, when in truth a root canal is no more uncomfortable than a routine cavity filling. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. If you are still feeling anxious, sedation options are available to help you relax. You’ll feel more comfortable and be less aware of what is going on during root canal treatment.
Where Should You Go For a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is a relatively simple procedure that most dental practices provide. However, an endodontist specializes in root canals and other procedures that focus on the health of the teeth from the inside, where the dental pulp resides. An endodontist has specific experience and equipment to make root canals more effective and less invasive.
Eagle Endodontics provides thorough root canals using advanced technology to reduce the need for retreatment. We make the procedure comfortable and relaxing so you can get the treatment you need without anxiety.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment at one of our 2 convenient locations.