Root canal: Just hearing the name of the procedure can make people sweat. But, although root canals have a reputation of being unpleasant, painful procedures, you might be surprised to find out they’re not as bad as you’ve heard. As with many things, people sometimes fear what they don’t understand but a little knowledge can go a long way towards reducing that fear. Columbus, GA dentist Dr. Albert Caves would like to take a few moments of your time to educate you on root canal.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal treatment, referred to as simply a “root canal” by many people, becomes necessary when the pulp (soft tissues) inside of your tooth becomes infected due to the presence of bacteria or debris inside the afflicted tooth. This can the result of deep decay (cavities) or a chip or crack in the surface of your tooth so it’s best to seek treatment as soon as you’re aware of an issue. The infection in the pulp can spread down through the root canals of your teeth into the tissues of your gums forming an abscess — a very severe and painful infection that can be dangerous to your overall health if not treated and it spreads..
When Do I Need a Root Canal?
Indications that a root canal may be needed are extreme sensitivity of the afflicted tooth to hot and cold, to touch or while chewing, and inflamed and sensitive gums around the tooth. Informing your dentist of these and any other symptoms you may be having during exams will allow he or she to decide if a root canal is necessary and appropriate for your condition. Some dentists, like Dr. Caves, will perform their own root canals but they will need to refer you to an endodontic specialist who specializes in treating the insides of your teeth.
The Root Canal Procedure
To start off, your dentist will thoroughly numb the area to be treated. Then, he or she or the endodontist you may have been referred to drills down into the crown of your infected tooth. Once it has been opened, they will remove the infected pulp and any debris from inside the tooth and the root canals. Our teeth no longer require the pulp as it will continue to be nourished by the surrounding tissues.
Once the pulp has been removed, a biocompatible material — gutta percha — will be used to temporarily fill the empty interior of your tooth until restoration can begin. In some cases, where tooth decay has reached down into the roots and made the tooth unstable, a tiny metal rod may need to be placed down into the root to help anchor the tooth in place in your gums.
Restoration is the process in which a crown — a lifelike prosthetic tooth — will be created and placed over your ailing tooth. Your dentist or specialist will determine the natural hue of your teeth and the crown will be constructed and used to seal up the tooth. Within several days of the procedure, the swelling of the inflamed tissues will have abated and the “new” tooth can be used to chew and can be brushed just like your natural teeth. Flossing will require a few adaptations but can still be done fairly easily.
Why The Bad Reputation?
Many people avoid root canals due to rumors that the procedure will be painful or because they might have heard about complications from the procedure. Root canals may have been painful decades ago but with our modern technology and anesthetics, the procedure is only about as painful as getting a filling installed. As far as those rumors about complications go there was a myth stemming from poor research about a hundred years ago that root canal treatment could make you being susceptible to illnesses and disease. However, this was before the causes of these diseases and their transmission was completely understood.
Comfortable Root Canal Treatment in Columbus, GA
So hopefully root canals don’t see so scary to you after all. It’s a procedure designed to alleviate pain and help save your natural teeth so you can chew properly and smile confidently. However, it’s still better not to need one. Brushing twice daily, flossing daily and scheduling regular exams with Dr. Caves are all important steps to avoid needing a root canal, especially if your teeth have recently developed any chips or cracks. But if you do need a root canal, now you know there’s nothing to fear. To schedule with Dr. Caves today, call (706) 407-4851 or schedule an appointment online.