Patients may dread getting a root canal (which is unfounded—we’ll get to that in a minute!), but the procedure is tremendously valuable for salvaging teeth that have been so severely damaged by internal infection that they are at risk for being lost. While tooth replacement technology has advanced significantly in recent decades, it’s still preferable to save your biological tooth whenever possible. A root canal can help you do that.
Infection in the pulp—the soft tissue located in a tooth’s core—can result in death of the tissue, which, in turn, can threaten the tooth. In performing a root canal, an endodontist will remove that infected pulp tissue, clean out the tooth’s root canal chamber and then seal the empty chamber with an inert rubber-like substance to prevent repopulation in the space by oral bacteria.
The endodontist will first administer local anesthetic to numb the area around the targeted tooth. This reduces any patient discomfort associated with the procedure greatly. Most patients who undergo a root canal treatment describe the sensations as similar to having a cavity filled. Also, given that infection in the pulp is quite painful itself, patients will get some relief from this symptom as result of having a root canal to remove that infected tissue.
An endodontist specializes in treating conditions that affect the innermost structures of the teeth, so they have a great deal of experience performing root canals. Their refined techniques also improve patient comfort during a root canal.
While root canal treatment is useful for preserving teeth, it does leave treated teeth at greater risk for breakage. Therefore, your endodontist will refer you back to your general dentist to have a crown placed on that tooth.
Not only can a root canal save your tooth, it doesn’t have to be a tremendously uncomfortable experience! To learn more about this valuable dental treatment and assuage any fears that you may have about it, call our office and speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members.