Root canals provide treatment for badly decayed or infected teeth, as well as those severely damaged from injuries. However, myths continue to surround these procedures, including the misconception that they’re painful. Learn why root canal procedures are important and what they involve to eradicate any preconceived notions and help you maintain a healthy mouth.
What Is A Root Canal?
What Is the Purpose of These Procedures?
When pulp, or the soft tissue and nerves making up the inner layers of teeth, becomes infected because of bacterial buildup, it must be removed. Without timely removal, an infected tooth may sustain an abscess, or pocket of pus attempting to contain the bacteria. The infection can spread and cause the head, face, or neck to swell, or result in bone loss at the tooth tip. Infected teeth also radiate pain that can make simple tasks exhausting, or eventually fall out to promote further bone loss. Root canals remove the infected pulp to save teeth from further infection, pain, and extraction.
How Is One Performed?
After administering local anesthesia, the dentist typically uses a dental dam to separate the infected tooth from the others to keep it clean and saliva-free. The dental health professional uses a small drill to create an opening in the tooth, then removes the infected pulp with files. The tooth also undergoes irrigation to wash away any remaining pulp before the canal gets filled with temporary sealant. It may also receive an antibacterial rinse prior to sealing, depending on the degree of infection.
The next visit to the dentist a few days later involves X-rays to check for lingering infection and replacing temporary filling with a permanent variety. If the tooth was badly damaged, a permanent crown will also be used for structural support.
Is It Painful?
While root canals can include soreness and mild discomfort similar to routine fillings and wisdom teeth removal, they’re not painful. Instead, they eliminate infected tooth pain and related health problems so you can chew and brush normally. The dentist will recommend a germ-fighting toothpaste to help the mouth recover quickly.
If you need a root canal treatment, schedule a visit with John D. Mainwaring DDS in Orange, CT. The family dental practice offers cosmetic and general dentistry services, including extractions, Zoom!® whitening, and night guards. Call (203) 799-6625 to make an appointment or visit the practice online for more information.