While root canals are often the only procedure that can save a damaged or dying tooth, they are rarely regarded for their heroic abilities. Instead, root canal therapy is commonly perceived as one of the most dreaded dental procedures. To ensure you don’t buy into this misconception, we’d like to better educate you about this important endodontic procedure.
If you only learn one fact about root canals, know that they are not painful. In fact, patients more often report that their root canal procedure was completely pain-free or even relaxing. With the use of modern dental anesthetics and sedation dentistry, root canals can feel much like getting a filling. It’s nothing to fear!
Next, you should understand just how beneficial root canal therapy can be towards your current pain as well as your future smile. The most common reasons for needing a root canal is a badly cracked or damaged tooth, a deep cavity, an abscess, or trauma from repetitive dental procedures. In all of these cases, the tooth can be very painful or sensitive, as the inner tooth pulp and/or root (where nerves reside) have become irritated or infected. Without a root canal, the tooth could eventually die from lack of nutrients, and it could certainly become unbearably painful in the process. Some patients experience facial swelling due to an abscess that forms when an infected tooth is not treated with RCT. A root canal can save your natural tooth and immediately take you out of pain!
What actually happens during a root canal? Your dentist will make a tiny hole in the top of your tooth. Next, we will insert a dental file through the hold and into the tooth canal. This creates a pathway to get to the infected tooth root, where fluid and bacteria have accumulated. A suction tool is used to extract the harmful fluid and the unhealthy tooth pulp. This essentially empties the inside of the tooth.
To ensure the tooth is properly restored in strength as well as protected from future infection, the tooth is then filled with a special material called gutta percha. In many cases, the tooth will need additional restoration to the external surfaces. Therefore, the placement of a custom crown typically proceeds the root canal procedure.
It is important to follow your dentist’s instructions on proper care when you get home. You may be prescribed antibiotics to keep the infection away. New advancements in dental science show a promise to use nanodiamonds in root canal therapy. According to a UCLA study, diamonds may significantly decrease the chance of residual infection after a root canal when used as a filling material along with the gutta percha. More studies and evidence is underway!
If you still have questions or concerns about your upcoming root canal, we want to address them. Call Gilreath Family Dentistry today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,