Is a Root Canal a Dental Emergency?

If you are experiencing severe tooth pain, you may wonder if that constitutes a dental emergency or if you should wait until you can schedule an appointment with your dentist. 

In this article, we will explain why you need to go to the dentist right away if you think you might need a root canal. 

Is a Root Canal a Dental Emergency?

The short answer is yes. 

An infected tooth is a real dental emergency because left untreated, the infection can spread. In addition to the pain it creates, if it isn’t treated in time, the infection can affect the tooth to such an extent that the only viable solution would be an extraction. 

An infected tooth can cause some serious complications, such as swelling of the face and impaired breathing.

Signs That Someone Needs Root Canal Therapy

The most obvious signs that someone needs root canal therapy are as follows: 

  • Toothache that lasts more than 2-3 days
  • Dental sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Pain while chewing food

Also, the gum around the infected tooth may discolor or become inflamed. In some cases, if the infection has advanced, the entire tooth may become discolored.

Is Root Canal Treatment Painful?

When most people hear about a root canal, they think that the dentist will drill through their tooth with a giant tool and that will lead to a lot of pain. 

The reality is that you will be numbed during the procedure and won't feel anything. 

You may experience some minor tenderness for a day or two after treatment, but this side effect will go away very quickly.

What Happens During Root Canal Treatment 

Here's what to expect while in the dentist's chair when you go for a root canal:


The dentist will examine you and possibly perform x-rays to determine the cause and severity of the problem.

Treat the Infection 

The dentist will prescribe antibiotic treatment to treat the infection and reduce the inflammation.

Remove the Infection

The dentist will remove the infected pulp of the tooth completely.

This step can be performed in a single visit or several visits, depending on the extent of the infection.


After cleaning the tooth, the dentist will completely or temporarily seal it, depending on how many visits the patient has to make to complete the treatment.


If the tooth has been severely affected, then you may need a dental crown to protect the tooth and be able to use it properly. 

Final Thoughts 

Although prevention is necessary to avoid any form of tooth decay, these complications can occur even if the patient has followed all the good practices of oral hygiene.

The best thing to do in this situation is to take immediate action. A root canal is considered a dental emergency and should be treated with great seriousness and care so that future complications are avoided.

Enjoy a pain-free visit with sedation dentistry.

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