I went to the dentist for the first time since things have opened back up in my area. I’ve never had a cavity before and didn’t expect this appointment to be any different so you can imagine my surprise when he told me I had a large cavity and I need to have a root canal treatment. I was a bit shocked. I asked him to let me call him at a later date to schedule the appointment. He agreed but warned me that if I put it off the infection could spread to my brain. I’ve never heard of this. Is that true or is it just a scare tactic? I have no idea what to expect either so I’m a bit frightened about the whole idea.
Whenever we have a completely new experience it is frightening. Compound that with what your dentist mentioned about the infection spreading to your brain and it is very easy to go into shut down mode in a panic. Root canal treatments are fairly common and they are important. With a dental infection, taking an antibiotic is not enough. This is because eventually, the pulp of the tooth dies. When that happens, the antibiotic can not reach the infected tissue because there is no longer blood flow.
The only way to truly deal with a tooth infection, is for the dentist to get in there and physically remove the infected pulp. This is what a root canal treatment does. It’s not as scary as it sounds. If you’re nervous, I would recommend you look for a dentist who also offers dental sedation options. This will essentially allow you to sleep through your appointment, if you want to. You don’t have to. Oral Conscious Sedation completely relaxes you and you will be pain-free, but you’ll be able to choose between staying awake or sleeping.
Is this a Dental Emergency?
I don’t think your dentist is just trying to frighten you. Tooth infections are considered a dental emergency. Your brain, heart, and lungs, are all quite close to your jaw. You don’t want to let the infection spread. They can turn life-threatening quickly. It sounds crazy, but people still die from tooth infections.
When you mentioned large cavity, I was concerned. I would take care of this sooner rather than later. In addition to a root canal treatment, this tooth will need a dental crown.
If you wait, one of two things will happen. The best-case scenario will be the tooth decays so much that you have to extract the tooth. This means you now have to worry about a tooth replacement option such as a dental implant.
Worst-case scenario is it turns into one of those life-threatening infections and you are in the hospital fighting to stay alive. Don’t let it get that way.
This blog is brought to you by the Akron Dentists of Angel Dental Center.