When your dentist tells you that you need to have a root canal, your first instinct might be to try to find a way out of it. This is especially true if you already have a hard time going to the dentist. If you have a phobia about dentists or dental work that makes it tough for you to schedule a regular check-up and cleaning, then it's understandable that you might avoid making an appointment for a more serious procedure, like a root canal. And even if you're not typically nervous about dental work, root canals can be scary just because of all the negative information that you hear about them. However, the consequences of putting off or failing to have a needed root canal can be very serious. Take a look at a few reasons why you shouldn't delay a needed root canal.
You Could Lose the Tooth
The reason that your dentist is recommending a root canal is because your tooth is infected and dying. You may not think of your teeth as being alive because they're hard and unmoving, but of course, they're made up of living cells just like the rest of your body. Inside of your tooth, there's a soft, pulp-like tissue, and that's where the infection lies.
If the infection isn't stopped, your tooth will die and the infection will spread to other parts of your mouth. At that point, the original infected tooth will need to be removed. Gaps left by extracted teeth can cause more problems. Your remaining teeth can start to shift toward the gap in your mouth, which can cause jaw pain and chewing problems. To prevent this, you'll need a replacement tooth – either an implant or a bridge.
A root canal, however, removes the infection, prevents it from spreading, and saves the tooth, which eliminates the need for further dental work. Failing to have a needed root canal will lead to more problems and a need for even more dental procedures.
You'll Experience More Pain
Typically, by the time your dentist recommends a root canal, you'll already be experiencing pain in the affected tooth because of the infection. However, it is possible to experience minimal or no pain with the infection.
If you're not feeling pain, or you think you can live with the amount of pain that you have, it's important to realize that the pain will probably get worse as the infection spreads. The tooth may become tender to the touch, making it difficult for you to eat or chew. The abscess can grow larger and begin pressing directly on the nerve.
Having a root canal stops the pain that you're feeling and prevents you from feeling more pain. If your reason for avoiding a root canal is because you're afraid of pain, then you should know that you're putting yourself at risk for more pain by avoiding the root canal.
You Can Become Seriously Ill
It's important to realize that what's happening in your mouth doesn't stay in your mouth. Your oral health affects your entire body. By failing to treat an infection that requires a root canal, you're putting yourself at risk for serious health complications, like sepsis.
Sepsis is a blood infection that occurs when bacteria from an unchecked infection works its way into the bloodstream. You may experience a fever, shallow breathing, and a rapid heartbeat. If sepsis is left untreated, it can result in blood clots that can break off and cause heart attacks and strokes. In other words, you can potentially die from failing to have a tooth infection appropriately treated. In a very real way, a root canal could save your life.
Don't let your fears about dental procedures or pain prevent you from having a needed root canal done. If your dentist doesn't refer you to one on his own, ask for a referral to an endodontist or look at sites like http://www.jpdentalgroup.com. They specialize in root canal work and will ensure that the process is as painless as possible for you. In the end, you'll feel better and healthier after the root canal is done.