Let’s face it, most people dread hearing that they might need a root canal. For decades, people have feared root canal treatment because of common misconceptions regarding them. These fears are real as identified in a survey conducted by the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) where 59 percent of participants feared receiving a root canal and 53 percent of participants said they would rather have a snake in their lap for 15 minutes than partake in root canal treatment.
With over 25 million procedures conducted every year, millions of teeth are treated and saved through root canal treatment. Understanding the procedure and the benefits it provides can make all the difference in your future oral health, as well as alleviate any fears you may have.
What is a Root Canal?
A Root canal is a safe, convenient, and widely recommended endodontic treatment that relieves tooth pain and saves the natural tooth. Inside the tooth below the white enamel and hard layer (dentin) is the soft tissue (pulp). The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue – all of which help the root of your tooth grow during development. Once a tooth is fully developed it can survive through the nourishment of the tissues surrounding it, therefore no longer needing the pulp. If a tooth becomes infected or inflamed, a root canal may be recommended to eliminate bacteria from the infected or inflamed root canal of the tooth which prevents reinfection and saves your natural tooth.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
A common misconception is that root canal treatment is extremely painful. While that may have been the case decades ago, modern technology and anesthetics have aided in the precision of the procedure and ease discomfort making the procedure virtually painless. In fact, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports that 97 percent of root canal procedures are successful and 85 percent of teeth last a lifetime following the procedure. Additionally, patients who experience a root canal are six times more likely to describe the treatment as painless compared to those who have a tooth extracted.
What is the Procedure for a Root Canal?
A root canal can be performed by a general dentist or an endodontist who specializes in tooth pulp. The procedure is relatively straightforward and can be completed in just one or two visits. The procedure consists of removing the inflamed or infected pulp from the canal of the tooth then filling and sealing the tooth to prevent reinfection. These are the steps your dentist or endodontist will take when performing a root canal:
- Your dentist or endodontist will examine the tooth, take a radiograph using x-rays, and administer a local anesthetic. Once your tooth is numb, a small protective sheet (dental dam) is placed over the area to isolate the tooth – keeping it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
- An opening is made in the crown of the tooth. The inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with very small instruments – removing the damaged pulp and any pus-filled sac that is in the canal to shape a space for the filling.
- The tooth is then filled with a biocompatible rubber-like material, called gutta-percha, to ensure complete sealing of the root canals.
- Lastly, your natural tooth will be restored with a crown (or a crown and post) or filling to protect your tooth and regain full function.
A root canal is often compared to a routine filling. Some patients have reported tooth sensitivity and mild soreness for the first few days proceeding treatment.
How long does a Root Canal Procedure take?
A root canal can be done in one to two visits – depending on the condition of your tooth and your unique circumstances. Typically, the first appointment consists of the removal of the pulp and any associated infection. During the second appointment, you could expect your tooth to be filled with a rubber-like material and then sealed with a crown or filling to prevent further infection and restore your natural tooth to its full capability. Each appointment lasts approximately 90 minutes.
What are the signs of needing a Root Canal?
A root canal is necessary when the pulp of your tooth becomes inflamed or infected. Some of the causes for the inflammation or infection could be:
- Deep decay
- Repeated dental procedures on tooth
- Crack or chip in tooth
- Injury to tooth
- Faulty crown
Untreated inflamed or infected pulp can lead to an abscess and lead to significant pain. Identifying your symptoms might help in the survival of your natural tooth. Here are a few symptoms that could indicate the need for a root canal:
- Severe pain while chewing or biting
- Pimples on your gums
- Chipped or cracked tooth
- Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold – especially after the sensation has been removed
- Swollen or tender gums
- Deep decay or darkening of your gums
Advantages of Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is virtually painless and provides you with a pain-free, healthy mouth. Sweeping the misconceptions under the rug, the AAE identifies the below as advantages of a root canal:
- Saves your natural tooth
- Helps maintain your natural smile
- Limits the need for ongoing dental work
- Efficient and cost-effective
- Allows you to continue to eat the foods you love
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned or have tooth pain, don’t hesitate to contact Roseman Dental. We will be able to diagnose the problem and provide you with the proper treatment.
For affordable, high-quality dental care in Henderson, Nevada and South Jordan, Utah contact Roseman Dental.