When most people hear the words “root canal” they may experience feelings of dread. But despite the unfairly deserved reputation of root canals as being unpleasant and painful, you may be surprised to learn that they’re not as bad as you think.
All too frequently, people are afraid of the unknown or what they don’t understand. However, learning some basic facts can help dispel those fears. Dr. Nish Patel of Manatee Advanced Dentistry would like to give you some answers.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal treatment, commonly called simply a “root canal”, is usually prescribed when the soft tissues inside your tooth, called the pulp, becomes infected. This is usually due to deep decay — cavities — or a chip or crack in the surface of your tooth. This infection in the pulp can spread down through the root canals of your teeth into tissues of your gums forming an abscess — a very severe and painful infection that can threaten your overall health.
When Do I Need a Root Canal?
The usual signals that a root canal might be necessary are sensitivity of teeth to hot and cold foods and drinks, sensitivity while chewing, and inflamed and sensitive gum tissue around the tooth. Informing Dr. Patel or your area dentist about these and any other symptoms you may be exhibiting will allow them to make the call if a root canal is needed in your situation. Some dentists will perform their root canals in-office while others will refer you to an outside endodontist — a dentist who specializes in treating the interior of your teeth.
The Root Canal Procedure
First, Dr. Patel or your local dentist will thoroughly numb the area to be treated with a local anesthetic. Then, he or she will drill down into the crown of your infected tooth through the enamel and remove the infected pulp (soft tissue) from inside the tooth and the root canals. As adults, our teeth no longer require the pulp to survive as the surrounding tissues will continue to nourish them
Once the pulp has been removed, a biocompatible material will be used to temporarily fill the now-empty space inside your tooth until restoration is ready to be finished. In some cases, where tooth decay has destroyed roots and made the tooth unstable, a tiny metal rod may be needed to hold the tooth in its’ place in your gums.
Restoration is the process in which a crown is fabricated and placed over your damaged tooth. Your dentist or specialist will match the crown to the natural hue of your teeth, and will use it to seal up your tooth. Within several days, the swelling of the inflamed tissues will go down and the restored tooth can be used to chew and be brushed and flossed just like your natural teeth.
Why The Bad Reputation?
Many people avoid undergoing root canal therapy due to the mistaken belief that the procedure will be painful. Root canals may once have been painful decades ago but thanks to modern dental technology and anesthetics, the procedure is only about as uncomfortable as having a tooth filled now.
Comfortable Root Canal Treatment in Bradenton, FL
So now that you know a little more, hopefully the root canal is not so scary anymore. It’s really just a helpful procedure intended to alleviate pain and save your natural teeth, allowing you to chew properly and smile confidently. Still, it is better to not need a root canal and brushing twice a day, flossing daily and scheduling regular exams with Dr. Patel are all important steps to prevent this. You should see your dentist as soon as possible if your teeth have recently developed any chips or cracks. If you are in the Bradenton, FL area and think you may need a root canal or have any dental concerns, schedule with Dr. Patel and Manatee Advanced Dentistry today, call 941.209.4315 or schedule an appointment online.