How Long Can You Put Off a Root Canal?
When you hear the phrase "root canal", it can stir up a lot of fear. Most of us would rather avoid dental procedures altogether, and a root canal is no exception.
But there is a point when the toothache becomes too unbearable, and the solution is to do a root canal. But how long can you delay it? The answer is that it depends on the severity of the infection and the condition of the tooth. The countdown begins when the dentist diagnoses a toothache as an abscess that requires a root canal.
It is important to understand that delaying a root canal will not make the pain go away, but it can cause further damage to the tooth and even the surrounding teeth and gums. In order to avoid this, it is important to act quickly and follow the dentist's instructions.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure used to treat a severely damaged, infected or decayed tooth. During the procedure, the infected area in the tooth is removed, the root canal is cleaned, disinfected, and sealed, and then the roots are filled. Root canals are usually recommended when the nerve of the tooth is infected or damaged and the infection has spread beyond the repair of a regular filling. The goal of a root canal is to save the damaged tooth and prevent further infection.
The first step in diagnosing a root canal is a dental examination. The dentist will look for signs of decay, infection, and damage to the tooth. If a root canal is recommended, the dentist will explain the procedure and the potential risks and benefits. After a root canal is performed, the patient may experience some pain or discomfort for a few days, but this should resolve itself with proper aftercare.
Signs of a Tooth Infection That Needs a Root Canal
The most common sign of a tooth infection that needs a root canal is a severe toothache. This pain will usually be accompanied by swelling of the gums and jaw, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, and sometimes discoloration of the tooth. If the infection is severe, the patient may also experience fever, bad breath, and a foul taste and swelling in the mouth.
If the patient is experiencing any of these symptoms, they should contact their dentist immediately. Delaying a root canal can cause the infection to spread and cause further damage to the tooth and surrounding teeth and gums.
Reasons to Delay a Root Canal
There are a few reasons why a patient may choose to delay a root canal. The most common is cost. Root canals can be expensive, and the patient may not be able to afford the procedure right away.
Another reason is fear. Many people are afraid of the pain that comes with root canals, so they may choose to delay the procedure until they are more comfortable with it.
It is important to understand that delaying a root canal can cause more damage to the tooth, so it is best to address the issue as soon as possible. If the patient is unable to afford the procedure or is too scared to have it done, they should discuss their options with their dentist. We offer 12 month interest free payment plans, if needed.
How Long Can You Delay a Root Canal?
The length of time a patient can delay a root canal depends on the severity of the infection and the condition of the tooth. If the infection is severe, the patient should have the root canal as soon as possible. Delaying the procedure can cause the infection to spread and cause further damage to the tooth and surrounding teeth and gums.
In some cases, the dentist may recommend a partial root canal procedure in an emergency to help relieve the pain while the patient is waiting for the completed root canal. This is usually the case if the patient is unable to have the procedure right away or there is too much swelling/infection present. The medication and temporary filling will help to calm down the infection from spreading while the patient is waiting for the root canal.
To fully eliminate the infection and save your tooth, a root canal should be performed within a few weeks of diagnosis.
Risks of Delaying a Root Canal
Delaying a root canal can cause the infection to spread and cause further damage to the tooth and surrounding teeth and gums. The infection can also spread to the jawbone, which can lead to a bone infection. An abscess is a pocket of bone infection that can cause severe pain and swelling. If left untreated, an abscess can lead to tooth loss and bone damage.
In addition, delaying a root canal can also cause the tooth to become brittle and more prone to breakage. This can lead to further damage to the tooth and the need for more extensive dental work.
Aftercare Following a Root Canal
After the root canal is complete, the patient will need to follow a few steps in order to ensure a successful recovery. The patient should take any pain medications as directed and avoid eating on that side of their mouth. The patient should also avoid chewing on the affected side for the first few days following the procedure.
It is also important to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing regularly, rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash or warm salt water, and avoiding sugar, acidic foods and drinks. The patient should also avoid smoking and drinking alcohol for the first few days following the procedure ideally, too, for best healing.
Root Canal Therapy in Forest Lake
Root canals are an effective way to treat a severely damaged or decayed tooth. However, it is important to understand that delaying a root canal can cause further damage to the tooth and the surrounding teeth and gums. It is best to have the procedure done as soon as possible.
Root canals are often viewed as a frightening experience, but with the right preparation and aftercare, the procedure is proven successful and comfortable. Contact us at 651-464-9888 at the first sign of a toothache.