Root canals have a reputation for being extremely unpleasant … jokes are made comparing them to your worst nightmare. But in reality, this is a dental procedure that is simple with the reward of saving a tooth from extraction.
The need for endodontic therapy (root canal) arises due to trauma to the root of a tooth. This can be due to excessive dental decay, infection, or a breach in the tooth that allows bacteria to penetrate to the interior of the tooth’s structure.
The myths surrounding root canals probably got started by people who have never undergone this tooth saving procedure. Some of these myths include that they are painful, take a long time to complete, and that extracting the tooth would be easier.
A root canal is a procedure where the contents of the tooth’s roots are removed. The contents include pulp, blood, and nerve. The roots of the tooth stay intact and remain to support the tooth. Symptoms that indicate the need for a root canal include pain, swelling, tooth discoloration, sensitivity to hot or cold, or pimple like sores on the gum tissue.
A dental x-ray is always taken; the x-ray is a diagnostic tool, but is also needed to identify the number of roots requiring treatment and how they are positioned.
Once the x-ray has been taken, the tooth requiring treatment is usually numbed using anesthetic (freezing the tooth); the tooth is segregated to keep the area dry and free from saliva; an access point is drilled in the tooth; and the dentist will remove the contents of each root using endodontic files. Each root is thoroughly rinsed to remove all contents … if infection is present, medication is placed in the root.
The entire process is completed quickly … the number of roots to be treated and their ease of access dictates the length of the procedure. With a simple root canal, the access point can be sealed right away and the process is completed. If a dental crown is needed to seal the access point, additional dental visits are needed.
Discomfort is similar to having a cavity repaired; extracting the tooth would require some type of prosthesis which would be costly and time consuming. Saving a tooth is a much better option; root canal therapy allows a quick response that can salvage a tooth and relieve pain.
If your tooth is bothering you, contact us at The Dental Place today!