Is A Root Canal A Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies are those situations where it’s best to see the dentist sooner rather than later. But patients often struggle to assess whether they are experiencing a true emergency or not.

Case in point: if you have an infection and might need a root canal, is that a dental emergency?

Well, the short answer is yes, it absolutely is. But keep reading to find out why!

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a type of dental treatment used to heal a badly infected tooth. The procedure involves opening the tooth and removing all the bacteria and infected tissue from inside it, including the narrow canal chambers of the root.

Root canals can often save a badly infected tooth from permanent extraction, and help restore your oral health.

What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is any situation where:

  • You experience severe pain, swelling, bleeding, and discomfort
  • You may risk permanent tooth loss
  • You experience complications from dental damage (fever resulting from a tooth infection)

Common examples of emergency dental needs can include:

  • Knocked out teeth
  • Tooth cracks, fractures, or severe chips
  • Large cavities or infections
  • Abscess 
  • Broken orthodontics, etc.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

Root canals are usually performed to treat a very large cavity or infection. By that point, you notice the following symptoms:

  • Tooth crack and discoloration
  • Significant tooth pain, particularly when you apply pressure while chewing
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Swelling around the tooth
  • An abscess forming above or below the tooth
  • Loose tooth

These are all signs that your tooth needs immediate dental care. If left untreated large cavities or infections may create so much damage to the tooth that even a root canal won’t be able to save it. In these cases, your only solution would be to extract the tooth.

Moreover, tooth infections can spread to surrounding tissue and lead to severe complications, such as fever or even sepsis.

What to Expect at Your Emergency Appointment

Here are the usual steps of an emergency root canal appointment:

  • Oral assessment and dental x-rays to see the full extent of the damage
  • Opening the tooth and cleaning it of all infected tissue
  • Going down the canal with a special tool to remove bacteria
  • Applying antibiotics to fight the infection
  • Sealing the canals and rebuilding the tooth with a dental filling
  • If the damage is large, a dental crown may be needed to restore the tooth

Dealing with a Dental Emergency? Don’t Wait

Whether it’s an infection, knocked-out tooth, or just severe discomfort, if you are dealing with a dental emergency, Dr. Madison Kurz and Dr. Kevin Chittenden are here to help you access swift care.

Call us right away at (928) 774-3851 for an emergency dental appointment. 

For a regular visit, book a consultation at Cedar Avenue Family Dentistry online.

Back to Blog

Find your family’s new favorite dentist

Schedule an appointment

Schedule Now