What Happens If I Don’t Follow Through with a Root Canal?

Dec 16, 2023
 What Happens If I Don’t Follow Through with a Root Canal?
Don’t feel much like having a root canal? We get it. But we also know what’s in store if you decide to skip, and we walk you through it all here. Keep reading to discover what can happen if you opt out of your root canal.

Root canals are one of modern dentistry’s most effective weapons against infection and decay, but let’s face it — they don’t have the best reputation. 

This tooth-saving procedure (at least the rumors about it) is the stuff of a dentophobe's nightmares. So we understand if you feel wary of hopping in the dentist’s chair. 

In fact, we understand dental anxiety quite well. Around 36% of people in the US have dental anxiety, and 12% have extreme fear. However, if you let anxiety and misinformation take over, you could back out of an incredibly important treatment and potentially lose your tooth. 

When our team at Mamkin Dentistry Aesthetic & Restorative Center in Ridgewood, New York, recommends a root canal, we want to make sure you feel fully informed and confident so you follow through with it. 

Here, our experts explain the finer points of a root canal, why it’s necessary, and what can happen if you put it off. 

The reason for a root canal

Root canals are an endodontic treatment, a specialized form of dental care that addresses conditions affecting the inside of your tooth or any soft tissue and structures below the hard enamel surface. 

With root canal therapy, we can quickly and effectively remove deep pockets of damage and decay and address painful infection and inflammation within your tooth’s pulp or the root canal chamber where blood vessels and nerves live. 

You may suspect you’re going to need a root canal before we even take a look inside your mouth. Warning signs you have a problem only a root canal can fix include:

  • Deep throbbing or aching tooth pain
  • Persistent and/or radiating jaw pain
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Tooth tenderness when touched
  • Pain with chewing
  • Unexplained tooth discoloration

We use a comprehensive dental exam and digital X-ray to determine whether your symptoms are originating from your tooth’s inner chambers. If they are, we recommend a (prompt) root canal.

The reason you shouldn’t fear a root canal

The main objective of root canal is to remove the decay and infection inside your tooth before it kills your tooth or adversely affects your overall health. We use it to restore your natural tooth and keep it where it belongs: in your mouth. 

Despite what you’ve heard or seen on TV shows, root canals are not horrendously painful procedures. They’re more akin to having a cavity filled, but root canals go a bit deeper to reach decay in the innermost chambers.

It’s a simple five-step process:

  1. We start by completely numbing the treatment area with a local anesthetic
  2. Next, we create a small opening on the bite surface of your tooth
  3. With the pulp exploding, we remove decay and infection
  4. Then, we clean and shape the chamber to ensure it’s completely clean
  5. Finally, we fit the clean chamber with dental material and seal the space

Sometimes, you may need to be fitted for a protective dental crown; otherwise, that’s the entire root canal process from start to finish. Our experts have years of experience with these delicate procedures and can ensure your comfort and safety. 

The reasons you shouldn’t postpone a root canal

Whether you’re scared of the dentist as a rule, or you’ve heard horror stories from friends and family who’ve had root canals, we believe the bigger threat is what happens if you don’t have your scheduled root canal. 

Here’s what can happen if you delay.

New or worsening pain

That deep, throbbing pain you’re feeling won’t go away on its own. You’re not dealing with a run-of-the-mill toothache — you have a serious dental problem that must be addressed with advanced treatment.

Advanced decay and tooth loss

The longer you wait to have a root canal, the more time the infection inside your tooth has to worsen, which is exactly what it will do until you deal with it. As time passes, the infection eats away at your tooth from the inside out, causing extensive damage and, in the worst cases, tooth loss.

Spread of infection

The infection inside your tooth can potentially spread to your gums and bone tissues and may even enter your bloodstream, where it can wreak havoc on your health and cause a life-threatening condition called sepsis

The bottom line

There’s really no reason to delay a root canal, and doing so can often be a life-or-death situation. Our excellent chairside manner and years of experience work together to calm your fears so you can get the care you need.

Remember, once the procedure is over, all that pain, tenderness, and swelling that brought you to our office in the first place will be a thing of the past. 

If you need to get a root canal on the books, call our friendly staff at 718-736-2785 or use our online booking tool to request a consultation today.