Perhaps more so than any other dental procedure, root canals have quite the bad rap due to negative portrayals in the media. This is unfortunate, as a root canal is an important procedure which can provide an effective method for saving a tooth so that it doesn’t have to be pulled out. Root canals are also far less painful than people have been led to believe. It’s high time to clear up all of the popular misunderstandings about root canals.
When is a Root Canal Necessary?
A root canal is necessary when the dental pulp inside of a tooth becomes infected. The dental pulp is where you’ll find a tooth’s blood vessels, connective tissues, and sensitive nerves. If a dental pulp infection is allowed to progress, then the tooth can become abscessed and will need to be removed. Some tell-tale signs of a dental pulp infection include severe tooth pain, sensitivity to hot and cold, sensitivity to pressure, gum inflammation, and tooth discoloration.
What Does a Root Canal Procedure Entail?
A root canal procedure mainly involves the removal of the infected dental pulp. The dentist will use a local anesthetic to completely numb the area before they begin. A rubber dam may be placed around the tooth to prevent the intrusion of saliva and bacteria while the dentist works. The dentist then uses a drill to make an opening in the tooth which will allow them to access the dental pulp. The dental pulp is removed to remove the infection, and the tooth is restored with a dental crown.
Why You Don’t Have to Be Afraid of a Root Canal
Dentists will admit that a root canal procedure can sound frightening, but they assure patients that they do not have to be afraid of any pain and discomfort. Local anesthetic ensures that you can’t feel anything your dentist is doing, and some dentists even offer sedation dentistry which can make the procedure seem like it takes no time at all. You may experience some tenderness after the anesthetic has worn off, but it’s nothing that can’t be managed with some over-the-counter painkillers.
You don’t want to put off a root canal just because you’ve seen on TV or heard from other people that it can be painful. If you think that your dental pulp might be infected or if you’re experiencing any kind of tooth pain, then you should get yourself to a dentist.