Is A Root Canal A Dental Emergency?

Root canal therapy is usually necessary when an infected tooth gets so bad the harmful bacteria reach the nerves of the tooth. By this point, people often experience some rather severe pain that cannot be managed with at-home remedies like OTC pain medication or cold compresses.

Because of this, the need for a root canal is almost always considered a dental emergency, especially since the infection can become even worse if left unchecked. 

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy is a procedure during which the dentist will clean the inside of the infected tooth (the pulp) and remove all the infected tissue. It is called a root canal because the dentist will clean the inside of the canals in the tooth’s root.

Your Fort Mill dentist uses the drill to first open the tooth and remove the infected tissue, after which the opening is filled with a special rubber-like material called a gutta percha, which helps protect the nerves of the tooth while restoring its full function.

Why Is a Root Canal an Emergency?

A common reason why root canals are emergency procedures simply has to do with pain. Infected teeth are often so painful that they can keep you up at night and generally prevent you from performing your daily activities.

However, pain is subjective, and some might have a higher tolerance than others. There are other reasons not to ignore a toothache and to book an emergency appointment:

  • Risk of losing the tooth if the infection spreads
  • Complications such as fever or even sepsis
  • Infection spreading to nearby tissue like other teeth or gums
  • Tooth death

As a result, it is essential to get a tooth that’s bothering you checked out right away. Infections don’t have a habit of going away on their own, and the more you wait, the more likely you are to develop complications.

How to Recognize an Infected Tooth

Look for these signs to learn if your toothache is caused by an infection:

  • Pain seems to appear out of the blue
  • The pain grows in intensity and is often throbbing
  • Heightened sensitivity to hot or cold food and beverages
  • Sensitivity to pressure our touch
  • Swelling in your face or jaw
  • Abscess formation just above or under the tooth

If your symptoms go away at some point, it does not mean the infection gets better on its own, but a likely sign it has already affected the nerves and led to tooth death. You still need to see a dentist right away, even if you are experiencing temporary relief. 

Luck Family Dental is here to help

If you have a toothache and suspect it might be an infection, don’t delay your root canal therapy. is here to help you fix the tooth and ensure your dental health is back on track.

Schedule an appointment with Leah R. Luck, DDS now.

We Offer a $59 Emergency Exam and X-ray Special!

Learn More