Are Root Canals a Dental Emergency?

If you’re experiencing a toothache that won’t subside, or is sensitive to food and drinks that are overly hot or cold, you may require emergency dentistry.

While pain can be subjective, more often than not, a root canal is the most effective treatment for a dental emergency like a tooth infection, and may be needed in the case of a cracked or chipped tooth.

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that involves removing infected tissue and nerves from inside the tooth, then filling the tooth with a composite so that the root and pulp are protected. Root canals are necessary when the tooth is already affected quite badly, and patients usually go to the dental office when they are already in pain.

With this in mind, a root canal can be considered an emergency dental procedure (in the vast majority of cases). 

What to Expect from a Root Canal Procedure

The dentist will start by examining the tooth and take some x-rays if they need to see the inside structure. After giving you anesthetic and sedatives (if needed), they will drill a small hole in your enamel to have access to the pulp of your tooth.

Using a series of gradually bigger drills, the doctor extracts the infected tissue from inside the tooth, making sure every last bit is removed. The inside of your tooth is flushed and cleaned, before a rubbery composite is used to fill in the hole. 

In some cases, you might need a crown placed over the salvaged tooth. When you come in for an emergency root canal, you will be fitted with a temporary crown. You will need to visit the dentist's office soon after to get your permanent crown.


What Happens If You Don’t Get a Root Canal

If you are in need of a root canal but you don’t get emergency treatment, the infection in the tooth keeps spreading, and soon after you can lose the tooth entirely. Not only can you suffer from tooth loss, but a severe infection in your mouth can extend to your ear, throat, sinuses, and even further, endangering your overall health. 

Severe cases can lead to the loss of jaw bone tissue, sepsis, dental abscesses, and even stroke or heart attack. Not getting a root canal can lead to complications, and tooth loss is one of the minor ones. The alternative to getting a root canal is tooth extraction, but an infection must be treated immediately, nonetheless. 

Need a Root Canal?

If you are showing symptoms that you need a root canal, don’t hesitate to call North Billerica Smiles. We offer emergency dental services in between appointments, after hours, and during weekends. Contact us to describe the situation and we will determine how quickly you need to be seen and call you in when needed. 

If you need any other dental procedure in Billerica, MA, or just want to ask us something, contact us today.