How Long Can You Put Off A Root Canal

How Long Can You Put Off A Root Canal?

Team Root Canal

A root canal is a procedure used to restore the health of a tooth. If your dentist has recommended a root canal, it means that the tooth is either infected or at a high risk of infection. 

Perhaps a root canal is not something you’re looking forward to. However, the longer you put it off, the worse the situation may get and the chances of saving the tooth become lower. 

How long can you safely put off a root canal? Here’s what you need to know. 

Why Do I Need a Root Canal? 

You may need a root canal if: 

  • You have an infected tooth. An infected tooth can be extremely painful. If you have a toothache, your tooth most likely needs a root canal. 
  • You have a large cavity. A large cavity that is deep enough to reach the dentin or the root canal is highly susceptible to infection. A root canal can prevent infection and save the tooth. 
  • You have a cracked tooth. A cracked tooth is also susceptible to infection. Bacteria can enter the root canal through the crack and infect the tooth. A root canal can prevent this. 
  • Your tooth is discolored. A tooth that looks gray or brown from the inside indicates that there is damage to the dental pulp. A root canal may be able to save the tooth. 

What is a Root Canal? 

A root canal is a procedure that is named after the part of the tooth that it treats. The root canal is the inner chamber of a tooth that contains the dental pulp, soft tissue comprised of blood vessels and nerves. This is where the infection can develop. 

To treat or prevent infection, the dental pulp is completely removed from the tooth. The root canal is thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected, then filled with a replacement material that provides support for the tooth and is resistant to infection. A dental crown is typically placed over the tooth following a root canal to protect the remaining tooth material and allow the natural root to remain in place for support. 

Benefits of Prompt Root Canal Treatment 

It is best to get a root canal as soon as possible after your dentist identifies the need. An infected tooth is considered a dental emergency and will need to be treated immediately to save the tooth. But a proactive root canal on a non-infected tooth still has many benefits: 

  • Prevent pain. An infected tooth can be extremely painful. A proactive root canal can spare you unnecessary pain and an emergency trip to the dentist. 
  • Preserve the tooth. The sooner a tooth is treated with a root canal, the greater the chances that it can be saved. 
  • Save money. A root canal that is done before an infection occurs may cost you less. You avoid emergency fees and the tooth is much easier to treat. 
  • Improve your oral health. Treating a tooth will improve your oral health by preventing an infection that could spread to other teeth and tissues. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals 


Does a root canal hurt? 

Root canal treatment is performed with local anesthesia to ensure that you are comfortable. If you have concerns or feel anxious, ask about our sedation options for relaxation. 

How long does a root canal take? 

Most root canal procedures take between 30 and 90 minutes. Root canals take less time for smaller teeth and more time for larger teeth. This is because larger teeth, such as molars, tend to have more complex root structures that take longer to clean and fill.  

Schedule Your Root Canal Today 

MD Smiles is ready to provide your root canal treatment as soon as possible. We understand the urgency and benefits of performing a root canal at the first sign of risk. Our goal is to improve your oral health and ensure you have a comfortable experience. 

Call 410-531-2690 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.