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What Happens When You Ignore A Tooth That Needs A Root Canal?

Occasionally, due to general decay or trauma, the nerve or blood supply of a tooth (known as the pulp) gets infected or damaged. If the infection or damage is badly enough, you might need root canal therapy, better known simply as a root canal. This is a procedure in which a dentist or specialized endodontist removes the pulp, cleans and fills the empty space that’s left and seals the tooth.

You might be tempted to ignore a tooth that needs this treatment– the procedure has a false reputation as being painful–but getting treatment can prevent bigger problems with your smile later on. Let’s take a look at what you might experience if you don’t see an experienced Kansas City endodontist for care.

Bacteria Settles In

When the nerve or blood supply of a tooth is damaged because of an injury or infection, it can die off. To bacteria, this dead tissue is a wonderful feast, and the bacteria multiply as they feed on it. Normally, your body would send in white blood cells to fight off the infection, but the main pathway for doing this is the blood supply. With the blood supply gone, it’s much harder for these helpful cells to get to the infection site. The bacteria thrive as a result.

The Problem Spreads

If you don’t take care of a tooth with infected or damaged pulp, the bacteria can spread into the area between your jaw and the tooth. The end result normally is the formation of an abscess. In some cases, the infection causes bone loss around the tip of the root. Some people also have the infection erupt right through the tooth, letting bacteria drain and come into contact with cheek, gum or other soft tissue. Swelling can spread not only to the surrounding gum area, but into your face, head or neck.

As you might expect these problems are uncomfortable occurrences. It’s usually this pain that leads so many patients to seek emergency dental care. You might also have difficulty chewing, because this basic activity puts pressure on the infected tissues. Sensitivity to hot and cold is common, as well.

Get Your Root Canal with an Experienced Endodontist in the Greater Kansas City or surrounding areas

Leaving a badly infected tooth untreated can affect not only the problem tooth, but also the adjacent teeth and surrounding soft tissues, causing pain and other complications. It is in the best interest of your dental health to get the root canal you need, especially considering that current technologies and methods allow dentists to complete the work comfortable. In fact, many patients compare root canal therapy to what you’d experience with a regular filling.

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