Root canal therapy scares many people. Even people who have never had the procedure are intimidated by it. Many people envision a painful procedure where a dentist manically drills their teeth. In reality, it will actually save the tooth while eliminating pain. In fact, root canal therapy is much more comfortable than you may think.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic therapy, is a dental treatment that helps preserve the structure of a decayed or infected tooth. The tooth is made up of a crown and roots. The crown sits above the gum and the roots, which attach the teeth to the gumline, are underneath. In the crown and roots, there is a hollow section called the pulp, also known as the root canal.
The pulp contains the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. It provides nourishment to the teeth and moisture to the surrounding areas. During the procedure, a dentist will remove the pulp of an infected tooth. This treatment’s purpose is to eliminate the patient’s pain by eliminating the tooth’s nerves. The nerves aren’t needed for the tooth’s health and function which is why they can be taken out.
Who Needs It?
The pulp can become damaged by deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a crack or a chip in the tooth, or an injury to the face. An infected pulp cannot repair itself. Furthermore, if it is left untreated, it can lead to further infection or an abscessed tooth. An infection can cause swelling, bone loss and drainage problems in the root.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may want to speak with your dentist:
- a cracked or chipped tooth,
- swollen gums,
- deep decay or darkening of the gums,
- severe pain while eating or
- a cyst on the gums
It is a great alternative to tooth extraction. It will save the tooth and prevent you from having to replace the tooth.
What is the Process of Root Canal Therapy?
The process will require at least one and possibly more than one visit with a dentist or an endodontist.
Here is a simple breakdown of the process:
- An x-ray will be taken to view the root canal and the site of infection.
- Local anesthesia may be used to numb the area.
- A rubber dam will be placed around the tooth to prevent saliva from getting the tooth wet.
- The dentist will drill an access point into the tooth.
- The pulp, bacteria, and debris will be removed from the root canal.
- The dentist will fill the area using a rubber-like material.
- The dentist will seal the tooth on the day of the procedure or a week after.
- A temporary filling will be inserted if the dentist chooses to seal the tooth later.
- The dentist will restore the tooth using a crown, a crown and post, or another restoration tool.
After receiving the treatment, the patient may experience sensitivity or discomfort on the gums. However, after the procedure, the tooth is dead. The patient won’t feel anything in that tooth because the nerves have been removed. The tooth may also be more susceptible to fracture.
Root canal therapy has received a bad reputation throughout the years. Contrary to popular belief, the procedure is not painful. It can save a tooth and is a great alternative to tooth extraction.
The best way to prevent the need for the procedure is to brush your teeth twice a day, floss and visit a dentist for regular cleanings. A dentist can spot decay before it becomes a large issue.
Where Can I Get Root Canal Therapy?
Stroud Dental offers root canal therapy for our patients in the Barrie, Simcoe County and surrounding area. Our treatment will save your teeth and take away your pain. Contact us today to learn more or to book your appointment.