What Happens When You Don’t Get A Root Canal?

Excerpt: Root canal therapy is recommended when you have a bacterial infection that is able to attack the inner pulp of the tooth.
Table of Contents

What Is Root Canal Therapy (RCT)?

Root canal therapy is recommended when you have a bacterial infection that is able to attack the inner pulp of the tooth. 

A typical root canal operation will have the following steps:


  • You will be given some form of sedation or local anesthetic and/or sedation.
  • The inner pulp of the tooth will be cleared out.
  • The canal will be disinfected.
  • The root will be filled.

Crowns are always recommended as the best way to finish the procedure since it will restore the structural integrity of the tooth, and it will close the hole at the top that was created by the drill. If the hole is left open, you may risk future infection of the tooth.

Who Needs Root Canal Therapy?

There are some tell tale signs that you may need a root canal, if you experience these symptoms you should definitely get a dentist appointment.

Consistent Pain

You may experience tooth pain that doesn’t seem to go away. If the tooth pain is ongoing, usually for more than 24-48 hours, there is a good chance you may have a cavity. The pain may be consistent, or it can even come and go, so if it goes away and reappears with in that time you should keep track of that sensation. Even if the pain is only minor and does not really bother you, you should get it checked out.

Temperature Sensitivity

Similarly to the consistent pain symptom, consistent sensitivity is a possible sign that damage has occurred in the tooth. If your enamel is damaged from the decay, the tooth will become more sensitive. Sometimes tooth sensitivity has underlying medical conditions, but if you do experience consistent sensitivity, then you should seriously consider an appointment.

Tooth Discoloration

When the inner pulp of the tooth gets damaged, it can affect the color of the tooth. This occurs due to lack of blood flow within the tooth. If you notice a single tooth is suddenly turning an off-white color, you should immediately get it checked out. The color change may be anything from yellow to black!

Swollen Gums

Dental abscesses will show up as boils on the gum, if you see a bump on your gums, do not try to pop it! This is a sign you have a inner pulp infection on your tooth.

Chipped Or Cracked Tooth

Tooth injuries, if left untreated, can leave the tooth vulnerable to infection. The break may not even be your own fault. It may have occurred due to trauma, teeth grinding (bruxism), or biting down to hard. We often do these things subconsciously, and they can happen to anyone.

Loose Teeth

Serious infections that impact the gums can affect the positioning of the tooth. The infection may have reached down to the root of the tooth in the gums which can be a serious cause for concern.

Infection Complications & Risks

If you leave an infection untreated, it can result in serious, possibly life threatening situations, including but not limited to:


  • Dental abscess
  • Joint pain
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Sepsis

These are all incredibly painful and serious situations you will want to avoid at all costs. If you have dental anxiety you will want to find a clinic that can handle that because the outcomes that can result in leaving it untreated will be significantly worse.

Frequently Asked Questions

Never, if you the dentists recommends it you should get it as soon as possible. 

If the infection is caught early enough, it can be extracted and the damage will be minimal. Tooth extractions are considerably cheaper then a root canal.

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