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There are few dental procedures as feared as the root canal. While it’s normal to feel some uneasiness, anxiety, or even dread, root canals are actually an extremely safe, straightforward, and common treatment. You really have nothing to fear!
Nonetheless, many patients try to put off their root canal for as long as possible. Unfortunately, delaying this necessary procedure is much worse than the procedure itself. Not only will you experience more intense pain, but you also put yourself at risk for developing other, even more severe health conditions.
In this article, we will examine the consequences of putting off a root canal treatment.
Root canal therapy treats infections within the innermost layer of your tooth. These infections are extremely painful—far more so than root canal surgery! Without proper treatment, the infection will continue to progress and worsen with time. Eventually, the resulting pain becomes unbearable. The longer you delay getting a root canal, the more pain, discomfort, and sensitivity you will experience.
The purpose of a root canal is to remove the infection so that the tooth can heal. It marks the end of your pain and discomfort. When you avoid root canal treatment, you are prolonging your pain, not delaying it.
2. Tooth loss
Root canals are designed to preserve your existing tooth. Since there is no proper replacement for a natural tooth, dentists always try to avoid an extraction whenever possible. However, this may be impossible if you delay your root canal procedure.
The longer you wait for your root canal procedure, the more infected the tooth will become. Your tooth will continue to decay and, eventually, may need to be extracted. Then, you will also require a dental implant, bridge, or dentures. This kind of tooth loss is entirely preventable.
3. Acute dental abscess
An acute dental abscess is a serious oral health condition that requires immediate emergency treatment. These abscesses are pockets of pus located at the end of the tooth’s root on the infected tissue. They can be caused by an untreated infection in the tooth’s dentin.
Unbearable pain, swelling, and fever are symptoms of an acute abscess. You may also experience difficulty breathing due to airway obstruction. The infection can spread to the brain in severe cases.
Delaying root canal treatment can lead to sepsis, which is a potentially life-threatening condition that can damage multiple organs. As the infection becomes more severe, bacteria eventually overwhelms the tooth.
The tooth decays to the point that a hole forms in its side, allowing the infection to drain into the gums, cheek, skin, and bloodstream. Sepsis occurs once the infection enters the bloodstream.
5. Bone loss
An untreated infection and delayed root canal can also affect your jawbone. The infection moves downward and attacks the tip of the tooth’s root. This results in severe root decay and serious bone loss.
6. Pressure and swelling
These infections cause significant swelling and pressure in the face, head, and neck. You will experience increased sensitivity and pain as the infection continues to spread.
7. Spread of infection
Although the bacteria begins as a localized occurrence within the damaged or decayed tooth, it will not remain there for long. If left untreated, the infection will spread to the neighbouring teeth, surrounding bone tissue, and throughout your entire mouth.
The infection will not stop until something is done to stop it. Consequently, delaying a required root canal will lead to further health complications and a need for more intensive (and expensive) treatments.
8. Systemic inflammation
The infection in your tooth can cause inflammation to spread throughout your body. This is referred to as “systemic inflammation.” At this point, you may be at risk of developing heart disease or suffering a stroke. Since infection can spread easily from the mouth to other parts of your body, it is imperative to remove the infection as quickly as possible.
9. More difficult treatment
Despite their reputation, root canals are actually straightforward, safe, and highly effective procedures. The recovery time is much faster than with extractions or implants, and the procedure itself is painless. They are the preferred way to treat infection within the tooth.
However, the longer you delay, the more complicated and costly the treatment becomes. The infection worsens and spreads further, affecting the surrounding teeth, jawbone, and tissue. It becomes harder for the dentist to remove the decayed material, and you are more likely to need a tooth extraction. You will require more intensive treatment and need longer to recover.
Your Tooth Will Not Improve Without a Root Canal
The bottom line is this: your tooth will not get better without a root canal. The tooth will not heal naturally. Rather, the infection will worsen and spread to other parts of your mouth and body. A root canal is the only way to stop the pain and remove the infection without losing the tooth.
Having a root canal can feel scary; however, it’s the best option for your oral and overall health. Delaying your procedure will only cause more unbearable pain and a long list of other potentially life-threatening conditions.
A Root Canal Will Stop the Pain…
Root canals have a reputation for being painful. It’s one of the reasons why so many patients avoid having them done. In reality, a root canal feels about the same as having a cavity filled. Although some discomfort can occur, you should not feel any pain during your root canal procedure.
On the other hand, you will experience pain if you delay your root canal treatment. Remember, the goal of a root canal is to remove the infection, which stops the pain.
…And Save Your Tooth!
The wonderful thing about root canals is that they treat the infection while preserving your tooth. Dental implants have come a long way, yet they are still inferior to natural teeth. For this reason, dentists will only extract a tooth as a last resort.
A tooth that has undergone a root canal treatment can still last a lifetime. You will be able to chew, talk, and laugh normally without pain or discomfort.
Visit Bloor West Smiles for a Root Canal in Toronto
Root canals are highly effective and safe procedures that remove infection, preserve your tooth, and put an end to your pain. Since delaying root canal treatment can lead to serious health consequences, you should come in as soon as possible. Dr. Kostirko and the entire team at Bloor West Smiles are ready to help.