What You Can Expect and Dispelling the Myths
Around 15 million people each year experience the sweet relief of receiving a root canal treatment. Given what you might have heard about root canals, you may think that you read that sentence wrong. Don’t worry, you didn’t. Root canals are a very routine, albeit very misunderstood, dental treatment that offers relief from several types of dental pain.
Many people fear getting a root canal because they don’t really understand what it entails. Society hasn’t helped with its overblown stereotypes about root canals. However, modern-day root canals are actually a simple procedure after which most people can head right back to school or work.
Are you about to experience a root canal treatment? Read on to learn what you can expect and allow us to dispel some of the scary but untrue myths about root canals.
What Is a Root Canal Treatment?
The white part of your tooth that you see sitting on top of your gums is actually only a small part of your tooth. The root of your tooth extends down into your jawbone and acts as an anchor as well as a protective housing for the soft tissues, called pulp, that carry blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerves. The pulp is important for growing the tooth but is not necessary once a tooth is fully mature.
Sometimes this pulp can get infected or inflamed, which can be quite painful or you might feel nothing at all. If the infected tissue is allowed to stay inside the tooth, the infection can spread and damage your tooth beyond repair.
A root canal treatment is a procedure used to scoop out the infected pulp and prevent future tooth decay. If done in time, it can save your natural tooth and you won’t have to replace your tooth with a prosthetic such as a dental implant or bridge.
What Happens When You Get a Root Canal?
Don’t worry, the whole procedure is simple, routine, and not very painful. Ever had a cavity filled? The process and recovery are quite similar. If you made it through filling your cavity with no problems, then a root canal treatment is nothing to be concerned about.
To perform the procedure, your dentist will simply make a small hole in the crown of your tooth. Next, they will gently remove the infected pulp and clean out the space inside your tooth. The entire chamber is carefully cleaned and disinfected to prevent further infection. The dentist will then fill the tooth before sealing everything back up with a dental crown.
Many people can have the entire treatment done in one visit. If a second visit is required, the dentist will place a temporary crown on the tooth between visits.
Once the permanent crown is placed, you can go on as though nothing ever happened. All your tooth will require is the same daily brushing and flossing dental care that you should always be giving your teeth.
Myths About Root Canals
“That’s it?” you might be thinking. But what about all the horrible things you’ve heard about root canals? A lot of the horrors you’ve heard about root canals simply aren’t true. Let’s clear things up right here.
Root Canals Are Horribly Painful
Perhaps the most pervasive myth about root canals is that they are incredibly painful. That may have been true back in the day, but modern techniques have made the process less invasive and less painful. Not to mention there’s this handy tool called anesthetic that keeps you comfortable during the procedure.
Extracting a Tooth Is Better Than Getting a Root Canal
What!? Why would you want to yank a perfectly good tooth out of your mouth when all you have to do is scoop out the inside? Not only will pulling a tooth be more painful and a longer recovery, but then, if you don’t want a hole in your smile, you’ll need an implant or some other procedure to fill the spot. No thanks!
If Your Tooth Doesn’t Hurt You Don’t Need a Root Canal
Tooth decay and rotting teeth don’t always hurt. If your dentist says that the inside of the tooth is decaying and needs to be removed, do it. Just because your tooth doesn’t hurt yet doesn’t mean that more damage isn’t being done the longer you wait.
Ready for Your Root Canal?
Getting a root canal treatment doesn’t have to be a scary experience. We hope this article has given you a better idea of what to expect and understand that it isn’t the painful experience you might have heard about.
Choosing an experienced dentist like Dr. Markham Harris who can put you at ease is an excellent way to help allay any fears. Contact us today to request an appointment. Whether you need a routine cleaning or full-on root canal therapy, we can help!