“Root canal” is probably the most dreaded pair of words in dentistry. In fact, some use the very idea of the treatment as a way to scare patients into practicing proper oral hygiene techniques. Unfortunately, not a lot of patients actually know what the treatment entails or what it is meant to do.
This week is Root Canal Awareness Week. We believe that the only way to alleviate fear towards a subject is to learn more about it and the root canal is no exception.
The Anatomy Of A Tooth
Many patients associate root canals with pain, but the fact is that this treatment exists to relieve discomfort caused by tooth decay. To understand the need for this treatment, one must first look at the parts of a tooth.
There is more to a tooth than just the enamel, which is only the first layer of the structure. Beneath the enamel is a hard layer called dentin, and further beneath that is the pulp. The pulp of our teeth contains blood vessels, nerves and tissue. This pulp works to help the tooth root grow as the piece develops. But once the tooth is fully formed, this pulp is no longer needed and the tooth can survive on its own.
Should tooth decay reach the pulp of your tooth, you will experience pain and discomfort. The solution to this is to remove the pulp from the tooth, which is done using a root canal.
The Root Canal Procedure
The procedure is easy to follow. When the doctor has you settled in, the area around the affected tooth will be numbed. An opening will then be made in your tooth from which diseased and dead pulp will be removed.
Once the area the pulp inhabited has been cleared of any bacteria, a dental material called “gutta percha” will be inserted into the tooth. This material is natural and biocompatible, making it a perfect fit for repairing your tooth. Depending on the damage to your tooth, a dental crown may be placed.
Following your procedure, you are likely to experience some discomfort lasting a few days. This ache should be manageable using over-the-counter painkillers. If your pain doesn’t go away after a few days to a week or it becomes too intense, be sure to contact our office and speak to Dr. Timothy Kosinski.
Why Have A Root Canal Done?
There are many advantages to having a root canal performed. The main benefit is that the tooth will not need to be removed. It is always preferable to save the tooth if possible as no prosthetic is able to perfectly match that which has been custom developed for you by your own body.
Having a tooth extracted is harder on the body than a root canal. It requires around two weeks to recover from a tooth extraction while it only takes a few days for a root canal. Extractions also come with the risk of a condition called dry socket, symptoms of which include throbbing pain and bad breath that can last for days after your procedure.
Another good reason to stick with your natural teeth if possible is because according to the American Association of Endodontists, 58% of patients who have teeth removed fail to have that tooth replaced. By not having extracted teeth restored, you are making your mouth more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can cost you teeth.
Common Root Canal Misconceptions
There are many falsities about root canals that have been spread over the years that we would like to take the time to clear up.
You Don’t Need A Root Canal If You Feel No Pain
When the pulp of a tooth becomes infected, it is only a matter of time before you begin feeling pain. If the condition is found early, then it is wise to address the matter before it starts to take a toll on you.
Teeth That Have Had A Root Canal Are More Prone To Bacteria
With this procedure, all of the bacteria is removed from the tooth. The area is then filled so that no bacteria is able to get back into the tooth.
The Procedure Is Extremely Painful
Despite some soreness after the procedure is finished, most patients report that they felt no pain during their root canal. We numb the area for our patients specifically so they will feel no pain during the treatment. And once the pain causing infection is removed, patients often express relief after the procedure is finished.
Root Canal Therapy For Bingham Farms Patients
If you are experiencing pain from an infected tooth and have neglected getting the care you need out of fear of root canal therapy, be at ease. With this procedure, Dr. Timothy Kosinski can relieve your pain without damaging your smile. Root canals have long been vilified in dentistry, despite all the good this treatment can accomplish for your mouth. When you are ready to learn more, contact our office and schedule your consultation today.