There is more misinformation about root canals than an old Pravda newspaper in Moscow or in the average Facebook news feed. It seems everyone believes a root canal is such a painful procedure that they’d rather avoid it at all costs. In fact, many people deal with the real pain caused by the infection in their tooth, rather than face the perceived pain of the root canal.
Since Dr. Smith performs our own root canals at Dental Arts of Hedgesville, rather than sending you to an oral surgeon, we’d like to set the record straight, shall we?
It starts with plaque
This whole process starts with bacteria. When we eat, tiny food particles lodge on or between our teeth. If you don’t brush regularly or efficiently these foods break down into sugars and attract bacteria. Those bacteria are in the film on the teeth called plaque. Left to its own devices, the bacteria eventually begin to cause decay as they create acids that begin to penetrate the enamel of your teeth. If those acids eat through the enamel, the bacteria are now into the interior of the tooth, the pulp. Now your tooth is infected.
And that can be really painful. That’s because your tooth is full of nerve endings.
At this point, there are only two things to do, extract the tooth or do a root canal. A root canal will let you keep your natural tooth. Plus, you won’t have to deal with filling the gap left by your extracted tooth with either a bridge or an implant.
Root canal procedure
In a root canal, after the area is completely anesthetized Dr. Smith makes a small hole in the top of the tooth to access the infected pulp. He removes all the infected matter and the tooth root, which usually is also infected. Now the tooth is completely empty and it has no feeling, as the nerves in the root have been removed. Everything is disinfected and then the tooth if filled with a rubber-based material called gutta percha. Then the hole is usually filled with composite resin and capped with a crown. Your excruciating pain from your infection (not your root canal) is gone and you can happily keep your tooth, maybe for the rest of your life.
And how painful was the root canal procedure? Most people equate the pain to that of having a routine cavity filled.
So, let’s get past the rumors and urban legends. Root canals aren’t any more painful than having a routine filling placed. It’s the pain necessitating the root canal that made you want to scream.
If you think you have an infected tooth, give us a call at Dental Arts of Hedgesville, (304) 754-8803, and let’s get onto the business of saving that tooth with a root canal.