Root canals have the unique distinction of being one of the most-dreaded dental procedures. But are they really that bad? Dr. Jacob Grapevine in Plano, TX has many years of experience performing root canal procedures in his comfortable office and wants you to know that root canals actually provide almost instant relief from pain and discomfort from a tooth infection.
What is a Root Canal?
The root canal treatment, commonly referred to as a “root canal,” is performed when the pulp, the tissues inside your teeth, becomes infected. This usually happens as a result of a deep cavity or a chip or crack in the tooth. The infection can spread through the tooth to the root canals of the teeth (hence the name of the procedure) and form an abscess, which is a serious condition that needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
Not all dental pain is caused by an infected tooth, but there are some key signs that might point to it. For example, if one tooth is very sensitive to temperature, touch, or chewing and the gums surrounding it are inflamed and sensitive, you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Many dentists choose root canal procedures to clear the infection and save the tooth, and the root canal success rate is 95%.
The Root Canal Procedure
First, your dentist will sanitize and numb the area for your comfort and safety. Then, he or she will use a drill to access the tissues inside the tooth and remove the infected pulp. As adults, our teeth don’t require the pulp as the tooth will still get nutrients from surrounding tissues.
Once the pulp is removed, a biocompatible material will temporarily fill the now-empty space inside the tooth. A permanent crown is created in a dental laboratory, but Dr. Grapevine will place a temporary crown until the permanent one arrives.
Next, the permanent crown is placed over the tooth, which will seal the tooth from bacteria and air and will prevent further damage and sensitivity. Within a few days, you’ll be able to use the tooth normally and you won’t even notice a difference.
Root Canal Tips
Having a root canal procedure is only about as painful as having a filling placed. Thanks to modern medicine, there’s a much lower risk of further infection, and most patients notice an improvement as soon as the infection is cleared out of the tooth.
Root canals, while they sound scary, are a helpful dental procedure designed to save your teeth. Instead of having to completely remove an infected tooth, root canals allow dentists to simply remove the infected tissue and leave the tooth intact.
You can prevent needing a root canal by brushing twice daily, flossing at least once a day, and scheduling regular exams with Dr. Grapevine. Keep an eye on your smile and let him know of any changes, especially any new chips or cracks, to keep your smile healthy and strong.