When root canal therapy is recommended, some patients may panic. After all, everyone has heard about someone’s experience, although very likely embellished when told by a friend, relative, or coworker. The truth is a root canal is a very simple procedure that accomplishes a great deal.
Myths and Truths About Root Canals
A root canal is going to hurt … in actuality, any temporary discomfort is mild and very similar to having a cavity filled. The anticipation is often more daunting than the procedure itself.
My tooth feels fine so a root canal isn’t necessary … very often there are no symptoms present, but failure to pursue treatment can result in a serious infection and possible tooth loss.
It would just be easier to extract the tooth … whenever possible, your dentist is going to recommend saving your biological tooth. When tooth loss occurs, you can be faced with problems like teeth shifting, chewing difficulties, and keeping the area clean.
What Actually Occurs During a Root Canal?
Also known as endodontic therapy, a root canal often begins due to the patient experiencing symptoms such as pain when biting down on the tooth, sensitivity to hot and cold, swelling of the gums or jaw, or tooth discoloration. In the absence of these symptoms, your dentist may still diagnose the need for a root canal due to a broken tooth or deep dental decay that has allowed bacteria to permeate the root canals impacting the nerve of the tooth.
A dental x-ray is taken to determine the exact number of roots to be treated and their precise positioning. Failure to clear all roots of all contents can lead to the need for retreatment.
An access point is needed to allow the dentist to remove the contents of all root canals. Using endodontic files, all pulp, blood, and nerve tissue are removed. If infection is present, an antibiotic may be placed. A rubber compound called gutta percha is used to pack the now empty root canals before sealing the opening.
Very often a dental crown is the final step to the root canal procedure. The crown is needed to provide a permanent seal for the opening that was created to perform endodontic treatment.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Tate Family Dentistry today.