The Risks of Delaying Root Canal Treatment

Tooth pain is usually debilitating, and can often be traced to a cavity that has developed an infection. Once an infection infiltrates the surface of the tooth and finds its way into the pulp and blood vessels underneath, it requires endodontic (root canal) treatment.

A root canal involves the removal of the deceased part of the pulp, so as to prevent the spread of the infection and alleviate pain and swelling. Tooth blood vessels and nerves, once infected, have no way of healing themselves, so the infection will just continue to smolder leading to devastating tooth damage. Therefore, if you are experiencing tooth pain or notice cavities, you should seek endodontic treatment soon. If you are considering opting out, or delaying a root canal, here are 2 reasons why you shouldn't.

Acute abscess

Delaying treatment after your tooth pulp has been infected will only result in further damage to the inside of the tooth. The longer the infection is allowed to fester, the more likelihood that you will develop an acute abscess, a serious infection to the pulpy core of the tooth. Such an infection will usually cause excruciating pain near the tip of the tooth, and can also cause intense swelling of the neck, jaw, and face.

In some cases, the abscess can also cause jaw bone loss or infect the jaw and cheek area, leading to sores and swelling. The best way to prevent such complications is to get endodontic treatment as soon as possible once you discover a root canal infection.


This is a painful localized infection that can develop inside the deceased pulp tissue. The infection gradually finds its way into the surrounding bone and tissue, eventually resulting in the loss of the tooth. A root canal removes the affected pulp early on before the infection spreads and affects the anchorage of the tooth, effectively saving the tooth.

Though rarely, septicemia can also spread to your other healthy teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay, bite problems, and gum disease. The localized infection could eventually find its way into the bloodstream and spread to vital organs such as the lungs, kidneys, brain, and heart, causing serious complications such as stroke and heart disease.

Postponing a root canal can have severe consequences such as increased tooth pain, tooth loss, or even systemic infection. If you suspect that you have an infected root canal, usually characterized by sharp tooth pain, visit your family dentist for immediate diagnosis and treatment.