Does the idea of getting a root canal send a shiver up your spine? You’re not alone. Of all the dental procedures out there, root canal therapy is probably the most misunderstood. Yet, even though this common treatment comes with the reputation of being painful and traumatic, nothing could be further from the truth. The discomfort of getting a root canal would be similar to getting a filling for a cavity.
If you need a root canal or any other type of dentistry, you can rely on our team at Trusty Dental to provide gentle and compassionate care at our Riverside, Connecticut, office. Here’s what you need to know about root canal therapy.
The myths surrounding root canals
The biggest misconception about root canal therapy is the belief that it’s an incredibly painful procedure. But that’s not the only myth out there. Many people also believe that it’s better to extract a decayed or damaged tooth than get a root canal.
According to the American Association of Endodontists, however, removing a natural tooth should always be the last resort. That’s because missing teeth cause other issues, including:
- Additional oral health problems, such as bone loss
- Increased risks of periodontal (gum) disease
- Shifting or movement of surrounding teeth
Plus, extracting a tooth comes with the extra dental work ― and expense ― that goes along with replacing a missing tooth once it’s pulled.
Why you might need a root canal
Each tooth in your mouth has an internal network of nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissue called pulp. When you get bacteria inside a tooth because of an injury or severe tooth decay, it can cause infection and inflammation of the pulp. Without treatment, this can lead to permanent nerve damage and other complications.
You need a comprehensive dental exam to determine if you need a root canal for sure. But several symptoms can indicate a problem, including:
- Ongoing sensitivity to hot and cold
- Pain, especially when biting down or chewing on something
- Red and swollen gums around the tooth
- A dark or brown area on the tooth
If you have pain or any of these symptoms, you should schedule a dental exam as soon as possible.
What to expect during a root canal
Just like with a dental filling, your dentist will start by applying a topical anesthetic to numb the area. This step will help minimize any pressure or discomfort you may feel during the procedure. Once numb, your dentist will drill a small hole in the tooth, remove the pulp, and clean the inside of your tooth.
After cleaning the canal, your dentist will fill the canal with a rubbery material and seal your tooth. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need a dental crown to complete the procedure.
Most root canals take 60-90 minutes. You may need one or two appointments, depending on the extent of the damage.
Don’t let myths or fear keep you from getting the dental care you need. For more information on root canals and how they can save your smile and preserve your oral health, book an appointment online or over the phone with Trusty Dental today.