Do you cringe at the term “root canal”? If so, you may not have a clear understanding about what a root canal procedure involves and what it is used for. It is common for patients to believe that root canals are painful. This is a myth and an unfortunate misconception. The reality is that root canals are a painless procedure that actually brings patients out of pain from an infected tooth. Root canals can treat and save a dying tooth, but the process doesn’t hurt. In fact, patients report that getting a root canal is not more painful than getting a dental filling.
When is a root canal suggested?
All of your teeth have roots that anchor them to your jaw bone. There is also a hollow chamber, or canal, inside the center of each tooth. In this chamber is a pulp that contains nerves, blood vessels and tissues. When this area gets damaged, either by decay or advanced gum disease, it can cause a very painful infection. The infection can even spread to the gums and surrounding oral tissues. If the damage is not too severe, a root canal can help patients avoid a tooth extraction. This procedure treats the infected pulp of the tooth and restores it to health.
What happens during a root canal?
During a root canal, your dentist will first and foremost numb the area with a local anesthetic. Patients can also take advantage of sedation dentistry if needed. The dentist will begin by drilling a tiny hole in your tooth and removing the decayed or diseased pulp. Next, the inner canal will be thoroughly cleaned, which includes eliminating bacteria, tooth fragments and tissue. An antiseptic (and sometimes also antibiotics) will be injected into the pulp chamber to kill any remaining bacteria. After the root canal and pulp chamber are dried, a permanent filling material is used to replace the pulp. At the final step, your dentist will place a composite restoration or crown on your tooth to restore its structure and protect it going forward.
With today’s advanced technology and improved anesthetic options, patients have every opportunity to receive a painless root canal. A procedure that you may be dreading could be the only procedure that will bring you out of pain and save your tooth at the same time. At Smile Design Studios, we put patient comfort and safety as top priorities. Whether you are in for a routine cleaning or root canal therapy, you can rest assured that our Houston dentists can create a stress-free, pain-free experience. If you are suffering from pain from an infected tooth, don’t let root canal myths keep you from getting the dental care you need and deserve.