Known as one of the most feared types of dental procedures, numerous people avoid the dentist because they are afraid they may hear the words, “You need a root canal.” When a tooth decays, people usually only feel a little discomfort at first. As the decay worsens, so does the pain, manifesting when drinking hot and cold beverages, biting down or chewing food, and even when walking or jogging. Left unchecked, the pain resulting from tooth decay can become quite unbearable.
The cause of the pain is damaged an infected nerves in the dental pulp. The nerves inside the tooth’s pulp can receive damage in a number of ways. First, bacteria appear when a cavity forms. When allowed to grow, it eventually reaches the pulpal nerve. Then, the bacteria cause infection and decay. The second way nerves sustain damage is when the tooth or the jaw are struck with intense force. The force of the trauma can damage the tissue, causing it to become infected and in need of immediate root canal therapy. This procedure can quickly correct these problems, stopping the pain and preventing the spread of infection.
Why Does Root Canal Therapy Help?
Pain ensues when the pulpal nerve is damaged and infected. However, this pain is not the major concern. When the infection spreads, it will penetrate the bone around the tooth. After some time, the bone eventually becomes incapable of holding the tooth in place. When avoiding this procedure, a person is essentially sacrificing the tooth and the structure of the surrounding bone.
How Does It Work?
The process starts with the removal of the crown of the affected tooth by an endodontist to gain access to the damaged or infected pulpal nerve. Then, the endodontist removes the affected tissue and cleans the surrounding area. After the area is clean, the endodontist enlarges and shapes it so the surface will bond to the filling that is placed to prevent any reappearing infection. After it is filled, a new crown is placed to seal the restored tooth.
Misconceptions About Pain
Many people falsely believe that root canal therapy is extremely painful. It is true that years ago the procedure did cause a certain amount of discomfort. That perception of the procedure still exists today, even though it is no longer true. Today, this process is virtually painless. Endodontists are experienced in taking steps to make sure patients experience little discomfort during the procedure.
Patients are encouraged to make a follow-up appointment for a number of reasons. First, the tooth can become brittle and dry with the removal of pulpal tissue. If it is not restored, the tooth can fracture or chip easily. Second, the endodontist can examine the tooth and the affected area to ensure there are no new infections.
Whether you live in Atlanta, Los Angeles, or New York, root canal therapy isn’t nearly as scary as most people think. This procedure is often pain free and will restore your natural teeth, eliminating infections that can cause a huge amount of damage. If the idea of having the procedure is still a little unsettling, speak with your dentist so you can gain a more thorough understanding of the process.