You need to have a root canal. It’s not a phrase that most patients want to hear. Whether you’ve bought into some common myths about root canals that have made you scared or you simply want to understand the procedure so you can have a better idea of what to expect, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about root canals to help you out.
Why is a root canal needed?
When a tooth has suffered extensive damage to the inner portion of the tooth, or the tooth pulp, it typically needs a root canal. The pulp holds your tooth nerves, and when this area is penetrated with bacteria, a painful infection can result. Root canals are suggested when the damage is beyond what a filling, bonding or crown can repair.
What does a root canal accomplish?
During root canal therapy, the infected tooth pulp is removed. The inner chamber of the tooth is thoroughly disinfected and then filled to prevent further infection. We don’t need our tooth pulp for everyday tooth function, so rest assured that only your existing pain will be taken away. To restore the full integrity of a tooth after a root canal, a crown is typically placed on the tooth.
Does a root canal hurt?
This is the million dollar question that leads to the most prevalent misconception about root canals. Root canals do not hurt. In fact, having a root canal should be no more painful than getting a cavity filled. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic along with sedation dentistry if you desire. When it comes to root canals, they relieve pain from an infected tooth, not cause pain.
Wouldn’t a tooth extraction be cheaper and just as effective?
You may think that just getting your tooth removed would be a problem solver to your infected tooth, especially if it is in the back of your mouth. Not so fast! While you may save some bucks upfront on a tooth extraction procedure, you’ll need to consider a tooth replacement shortly after. Dental implants cost far more than a simple root canal. If you choose not to replace your tooth, you could suffer from shifting adjacent teeth, bite misalignment and even jawbone loss!
How long can I put off a root canal?
This is a question that should be answered by your dentist based on your specific case. However, in general, if you’ve been told you need a root canal it is because your tooth is compromised in a significant way. If you allow an infection to exist, it can spread and affect your nearby teeth, gum tissues or bone. You’re better off scheduling your root canal sooner rather than later to avoid more costly procedures and worsening pain.
Have more questions about root canals? We want to answer them. At Gilreath Family Dentistry, we welcome the opportunity to “clear the air” about root canals so that you can feel more comfortable going into this effective restorative dental treatment.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,