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What Happens If You Don't Get a Root Canal?

March 18, 2024
What Happens If You Don't Get a Root Canal?

Have you been told you need a root canal? Your dentist may have recommended a root canal for a tooth that has significant damage, putting it at a high risk of infection. You may have been referred to an endodontist because they specialize in root canal therapy. But is a root canal really necessary? What happens if you don’t get a root canal? Here’s what you can expect if you put it off. 

Why Are Root Canals Needed? 

At the center of each tooth there is a chamber called the root canal that contains soft tissue called dental pulp. If bacteria invades the root canal it can infect the dental pulp, which can be painful and puts the health of the tooth at risk.

What is a Root Canal? 

A root canal is a procedure that treats the inside of a tooth. If a tooth is infected or at risk of infection, a root canal can treat or prevent it. The procedure involves making a small hole in the crown of the tooth in order to access the root canal. The dental pulp is removed and the root canal is flushed out and disinfected. Then a replacement material is used to fill the tooth that preserves the structure and is resistant to infection. In most cases a crown is placed over the tooth for protection following a root canal. 

Potential Consequences of Putting Off a Root Canal 

Putting off a root canal after your dentist or endodontist has recommended it, could result in any of the following situations: 

  • Toothache. The first indication of an infection is a toothache. It can be mild at first, but the longer it goes untreated the worse the pain may get. A severe toothache can be extremely uncomfortable. 
  • Swollen gums. Another symptom of an infected tooth is swollen gum tissue. The infection causes inflammation and a buildup of fluid in the gums that can be tender to the touch. 
  • Abscess. An abscess is a painful bump on the gum tissue, often with a white head in the center like a pimple. It can form due to an infection in a tooth. It may bleed or ooze pus when you brush or floss. 
  • Infection spreads. Without treatment an infection in a tooth may spread to the neighboring teeth, the gum tissue, and even the jaw. 
  • Loss of the tooth. If an infected or damaged tooth goes too long without treatment, it may be too late for a root canal to save the tooth. Instead the tooth will need to be extracted and replaced. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals 

Does a root canal hurt? 

The idea that a root canal is a painful procedure is an unfortunate myth. Local anesthesia is used during root canals to ensure that you feel no pain from the procedure. A root canal is no more painful than a routine cavity filling. If you are nervous or anxious, we provide sedation options to help you relax. 

Is a root canal covered by insurance? 

If you have dental insurance, a root canal is typically covered by most plans. Insurance may only cover a certain percentage or portion of the procedure, and the rest is your responsibility. But HSA and FSA funds can be used to pay the remaining balance, as well as other forms of credit. 

Schedule Your Root Canal Today 

Don’t put off getting a root canal any longer. Make the best choice for your oral health and schedule your procedure today. Elite Endodontics of NH can provide the root canal therapy you need to restore the health of your tooth and preserve your natural smile. 

Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment at one of our 3 convenient locations.

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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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