People fear root canals because they think they are dreadfully painful. In reality, they are no more painful than getting a typical filling in a tooth. Plus, a root canal can save the natural tooth, which is always the best alternative.
So, what’s involved in a root canal?
Why you need one
Decay is the enemy of teeth. If normal decay is allowed to progress to the point where it enters the interior of the tooth (past the enamel), this is where things get ugly. That decay has now created an infection in the dentin, the pulp inside the tooth. Nerves are exposed and the pain can become extreme, or it can show itself as a reaction to hot or cold foods. Either way, once decay has created an infection in the tooth, a root canal is likely necessary.
In a root canal, a hole is drilled into the tooth to allow access. Then specialized endodontic files are inserted into the tooth to remove all of the decayed tissue and bacteria. This is done on the entire interior of the tooth, all the way down into the root. Nerves are removed in the process.
Next the tooth is flushed with water and sterilized. The empty tooth is then filled with a rubber-based material called gutta-percha. Now the opening is filled and, if needed, a crown is place over the filling to rebuild the tooth to its former height and shape.
The vast majority of root canal procedures are successful in allowing the patient to keep his or her natural tooth, which is a far better solution than extraction and implants, bridges, or other dental appliances.
If you’re having serious tooth pain, you may need a root canal. Call one or our two EMA Dental offices and schedule your appointment.