I’d rather have a Root Canal. You’ve probably heard that phrase before. Why are so many people afraid of Root Canal Treatment? Because they mistakenly believe it’s painful. Want to know the truth? Root Canal Treatment doesn’t cause pain, they relieve it. In fact, millions of teeth are saved each year this way. When you look a little closer, it’s easy to see why there’s no need to fear a Root Canal. Besides being the name of a procedure, root canal is also what we call the tiny passageways found deep inside your teeth. The nerves, blood vessels and other soft tissues they contain are important for the tooth’s development, but not needed in full grown teeth. Sometimes because of deep decay or cracked tooth an infection may develop in the tissues of the Root Canal. This is what may cause the intense pain people associate with root canal problems. Even if the infection doesn’t cause pain, or the pain eventually goes away, the infection deep in your tooth never will, unless it’s treated. Eventually, the infection can spread into the jaw bone, causing further problems and possibly leading to tooth loss. Root Canal Treatment helps you avoid the situation by stopping the infection at its source. Let’s take a closer look at the procedure which may be done by your general dentist or by a specialist called an endodontist. Just like getting a filling the first step is to numb the area so you won’t feel any discomfort. But if you’re apprehensive about dental procedures, you may also be given anti-anxiety medication or conscious sedation. Next, a small hole is drilled to give access to the Root Canal itself. Tiny instruments are used to remove the dead and diseased tissue. The root canal is then thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and filled with an inert biocompatible material. Finally, the hole in the tooth is sealed up and the procedure is over.
Later, the tooth will usually need a permanent restoration such as a Crown. So, is a root canal procedure painful? Generally, the answer is no. It’s no more uncomfortable than having a feeling, though it may take a little longer. Any discomfort you may feel for a day or two afterward can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen. The good news is after a Root Canal procedure, the infection is gone along with the pain and the tooth is out of danger. In most cases, the restored tooth can last as long as any of your natural teeth.
So, if you’ve been told you need a Root Canal, there’s no reason to be fearful. This treatment not only relieves pain, it can also help save your smile.