No, actually—root canal therapy has come a long way in recent years. Thanks to advances in dental technology and anesthesia, root canal complications are very rare, and the procedure is much more comfortable than it used to be. And it’s crucial to save the tooth so that you can continue to eat, speak and smile with confidence.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that has been damaged or infected. The procedure involves removing the damaged tissue, cleaning the inside of the treated tooth, and then sealing it to protect it from further damage.
So, What’s Involved With the Root Canal Procedure?
First, your dentist will numb the area around the tooth with local anesthesia, preventing too much pain and discomfort. Once the area is numb, the dentist will begin to prepare the tooth for the root canal. This process includes removing the enamel and dentin from around the infected pulp—the soft tissue inside that contains the tooth nerve and various blood vessels—which is typically damaged and filled with harmful bacteria.
Cleaning the Roots
Once the damaged tooth material is cleared away, the dentist has access to the pulp chamber and the canals. The dentist will then clean out the inflamed or infected pulp, removing any remaining bacteria and damaged tissue. The canals are then cleaned, shaped and sterilized.
Filling the Canals
After the canals have been cleaned and prepped, they need to be sealed off to prevent further infection. The dentist will do this by filling the canals with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. This is not the type of temporary filling used on cavities, but rather filling material that should last you for life.
Topping It Off – The Dental Crown
Once the infected pulp has been removed and the roots have been cleaned, shaped and sterilized, the dentist will seal the tooth off with a dental crown. This will protect the tooth from further infection and decay.
The dental crown looks and feels just like a natural tooth.
Why You Shouldn’t Fear the Root Canal
With modern technology and advances in dentistry, root canals are nothing to be afraid of. They are a quick and easy way to save an infected tooth. In fact, root canals are one of the most common dental procedures performed today.
When Do I Need To Get a Root Canal?
A root canal may be necessary if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Severe toothache, especially when chewing
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
- Swollen gums around the tooth
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Pus drainage from the gums near the tooth
Root canal recovery is easy and takes no time at all. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call your local dental office and schedule a consultation. They will be happy to assess your situation and determine if a root canal is right for you—they will treat it and make it fit right in with your natural teeth.