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How Long Can You Go Without Getting A Root Canal?

September 15, 2023
How Long Can You Go Without Getting A Root Canal?

When your dentist recommends a root canal, you may be thinking that now is not the best time. Maybe you have dental anxiety and the idea of getting a root canal fills you with dread. Maybe with or without insurance your funds are low and you think you can’t afford it. Or perhaps you’re about to go on vacation, or work is busy, or some other reason. 


Is it ok to put off a root canal? How long can you go without getting a root canal? Here’s what you need to know. 

What is a Root Canal? 

A root canal is a procedure named for the part of the tooth it addresses. The root canal is the hollow chamber at the center of a tooth. It contains dental pulp, soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves that aid in the development of the tooth. 


A root canal procedure, sometimes called root canal therapy, is the process of removing the dental pulp and filling the tooth with composite material. The material that replaces the dental pulp helps support the tooth structure and allows it to stay in place in your mouth. 

Why Do I Need a Root Canal? 

There are a few different reasons for root canal therapy: 

  • Tooth infection. If bacteria finds its way into the root canal it can infect the dental pulp, resulting in a toothache that can become severe. Root canal therapy can treat the infection and potentially save the tooth. 
  • Deep cavity. A cavity is a hole in the enamel of a tooth that is caused by plaque bacteria. If a cavity is deep enough that it reaches the inner portion of the tooth, there is a risk of tooth infection. A root canal performed proactively can prevent infection. 
  • Cracked or broken tooth. A tooth that is cracked or broken is also at risk of infection as bacteria may enter the root canal through the crack or exposed dentin. A root canal can prevent the damaged tooth from developing an infection. 

What Can Happen if I Don’t Get a Root Canal?

If the tooth is already infected, avoiding a root canal can result in severe pain that may eventually become unbearable. Putting a root canal off for too long can mean the tooth cannot be saved and will need to be extracted. The infection can also spread to other teeth and result in the need for more dental work or additional lost teeth. 


If a tooth is at risk of infection due to a crack, chip, or deep cavity and you put off getting a root canal, the tooth may develop a painful infection. Prevention is best in this case because you avoid discomfort and the chances of saving the tooth are greatly increased. 

Is a Root Canal Painful? 

A root canal can be performed with local anesthesia to numb the area and prevent any discomfort, similar to a basic cavity filling. If you are anxious or nervous about getting a root canal, sedation options are available to help you feel more relaxed. 

How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

A root canal typically takes about an hour, or possible an hour and half at the most. The length of the procedure depends on the size of the tooth and the complexity of the root canal structure. 

Does Insurance Cover Root Canals? 

A root canal is a restorative procedure that is covered by most dental insurance plans. It may be covered up to a certain amount or percentage, leaving a portion of the balance for you to pay. Deductibles may also apply. Contact your insurance provider for more information about your coverage. 

Why Choose Elite Endodontics of NH?

An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the dental pulp, making them especially qualified to perform root canals. Elite Endodontics of NH provides root canal therapy to save one or more infected or at-risk teeth. In many cases root canal therapy can save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted and replaced. We have the necessary technology to perform a thorough root canal that can help your tooth last a lifetime. 

Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.

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Elite Endodontics of NH
182 Central Street
Hudson, NH 03051
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182 Central Street
Hudson, NH 03051
1310 Hooksett Road
Hooksett, NH 03106
60 Whittier Hwy, Unit 1
Moultonborough, NH 03254
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