Benefits and Risks of Root Canal Therapy

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Benefits and Risks of Root Canal Therapy

root canal benefits
Root canal therapy is a routine treatment for dental infections that are buried deep within the center of the tooth. Dental infections are unfortunately a typical occurrence thanks to the high volume of bacteria in the mouth, which occurs both naturally and as a result of eating and drinking. Oral infections can also be caused by tooth decay, broken fillings or accidental damage such as an injury.

Unfortunately, root canal therapy has a reputation for being an extremely painful and unsavory treatment. However, advances in dentistry techniques and sedation/anesthetic options mean that root canals are a virtually painless and straightforward procedure.

Ensuring that you get prompt treatment for root canal infections is extremely important as if left untreated, they can create further health issues such as dental abscesses, which can cause your whole face to swell and become extremely painful. However, before you rush into your dentist’s office to treat that nasty infection, there are some considerations that you need to make. Let’s take a look at the benefits and risks of root canal therapy.

Benefits of root canal therapy

Root canal therapy should be carried out as soon as possible as it is the only way of properly dealing with the infection that doesn’t involve removing a tooth!

The primary benefits associated with root canal include:

Relieve symptoms of infection

Many people who have infected root canal suffer from symptoms including

- Fever

- Mild to the severe tooth or jaw pain

- Tenderness around the mouth

- A foul smell or taste emanating from the infected tooth

- Swelling around the infected tooth, or in the surrounding gum or jaw

- Difficulty opening the mouth and eating

Improved appearance

Your infected tooth may appear somewhat different to the surrounding teeth, as decay and damage can cause cracks, stains and changes in color. Root canal-treated tooth may be restored using a crown which can significantly improve the appearance of the tooth as it can be color-matched to the surrounding teeth to give you a natural-looking smile.

Prevent extraction

If your infection is left untreated it can cause your tooth to loosen within the jaw, putting it at risk of requiring extraction or even falling out of its own accord. Root canal therapy can prevent this from happening, saving you from an unsightly gap or the need for more extensive treatment such as dental implants. You can have it under sedation if you are particularly anxious.

Sedation dentistry is a popular choice for patients who have a phobia of the dentist or suffer from a reasonable level of anxiety. There are various levels available from mild sedation to complete unconsciousness. If the idea of this procedure makes you very nervous, speak to your dentist to see if you are a suitable candidate for sedation during root canal therapy.

Risks of root canal therapy

While root canal is a very safe and common procedure, there are a few potential complications and risks that you should be aware of. These include:


Although the anesthetic you will be administered means you shouldn’t be able to feel any pain during the actual therapy, some pain in the days following the procedure is quite normal. This could range from a dull ache to a short, sharp pain, but should be manageable with over counter analgesic. On some occasions, trace amounts of bacteria remain in the tooth, which can then cause pain and infection in the weeks or months after treatment. This is quite rare, but if you experience pain more than a week after your root canal therapy you should speak to your dentist as soon as possible.

Undetected cracks in the root

Hairline cracks in the tooth can lead to bacterial growth and the potential for further infection. Therefore, your dentist should very thoroughly examine your tooth to make sure that no cracks are left undetected.

Erosion of the filling/seal

Over time, the filling used to seal the root canal can begin to erode. When this happens, bacteria may be able to seep back into the root of your tooth and begin the infection all over again. Your dentist will be able to advise you of the best way to look after your teeth after your therapy, to minimize the risk of this happening.

If you are suffering from the symptoms of root canal infection, contact us as soon as possible to arrange an appointment, and Dr. Dena will be happy to discuss any further concerns that you may have regarding the treatment.