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What Happens If You Don't Get A Root Canal?

October 18, 2023
What Happens If You Don't Get A Root Canal?

If your dentist tells you that you need a root canal, it’s because it’s the last option for saving a natural tooth. Root canals are prescribed when a tooth has developed a cavity (decay) that has reached the interior of the tooth (pulp). A root canal will also be prescribed for teeth that have experienced dental trauma, cracked, or those that have developed an infection. Without a root canal, you will eventually lose the damaged tooth.

Risks of Not Having a Root Canal Performed When Advised

Failing to schedule a root canal as prescribed by your dentist can lead to a host of undesirable and uncomfortable side effects.


Firstly, you will experience continuing or worsening pain. The pain will likely intensify as infection sets in or spreads to the gums or bone. In worst-case scenarios, failing to treat an infected tooth may lead to the development of a dental abscess. A dental abscess, also called a tooth abscess, is a pus-filled pocket that forms in response to a bacterial infection. 


Dental abscesses are dental emergencies. They are notoriously painful, with pain often spreading into the face. You may also develop a fever, swelling, or loosening teeth. Eventually, failure to treat a dental abscess can have dangerous effects on your overall health, including the loss of crucial jawbone or infection entering your bloodstream. 


Other risks of failing to treat a severely damaged tooth with a root canal include the darkening of the tooth, difficulty chewing, and more complex treatment required to replace a missing tooth. 

Benefits of Root Canals

Root canals save teeth, including the crucial tooth root. Your tooth root plays a significant role in not only attaching your teeth to the jaw but also stabilizing the adjacent teeth, and maintaining your facial appearance.


Today, thanks to advancements in dental techniques and technology, root canals take no longer than getting a dental filling. They are also painless, as the area of the mouth to be treated will be entirely numb. In fact, most people report that the pain they were experiencing before their root canal therapy is gone as soon as the procedure is finished.


Indeed, root canals save the damaged tooth, protect the nearby teeth, preserve your jawbone, prevent gaps in your smile, and improve your overall health and wellness.

9 Warning Signs that You May Need a Root Canal

Some symptoms that you need a root canal may mimic other oral health conditions including fractured teeth, dental cavities, or gum disease. The most common warning signs that you may need a root canal include:

  • Pain in the tooth
  • Darkening gums
  • Small pimple-like bumps on the gum
  • Discoloration of the teeth
  • Swelling or tenderness in the gum
  • A tooth that feels loose
  • Throbbing pain
  • New sensitivity to hot or cold foods 
  • Visible crack in a tooth


If you experience any of these symptoms, it's essential to be seen by a dentist as soon as possible. 

Book an Appointment for Tooth Pain in Holyoke, MA

Mild tooth pain may not be an emergency, but severe tooth pain should be treated as an emergency. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, contact Oakdale Dental Associates for priority dental care at 413-536-1782. For non-emergency appointments, you may send us a message.

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Oakdale Dental Associates
1820 Northampton Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
Tel: 413-536-1782 | Fax: 413-532-1400
Monday | 8:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday | 8:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday | 8:00am - 5:00pm
Thursday | 8:00am - 5:00pm
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Saturday | Closed
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1820 Northampton Street Holyoke, MA 01040
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