That’s not fair to root canal treatments (or dentists).
Just like many other areas of medicine, modern dental practices use procedures that are much less painful and much more comfortable for our patients.
That’s certainly true for all our patients at Nashua Family Dentistry in New Hampshire.
What is a root canal?
Before we get into the specifics, let’s explain what a root canal is, and why you might need a root canal treatment.
First, let’s review tooth anatomy. The crown is the visible part of your tooth. The outside is covered in enamel, which helps to protect your tooth from infection. The hard part of the crown is made of dentin, and inside is a softer substance called pulp.
Blood vessels and nerves run through the pulp and into the roots of your teeth. If the pulp is infected or inflamed, it can cause pain or an abscess.
An abscess is a kind of infection in the root of your tooth or between your tooth and gum.
While tooth decay is the most common cause of this kind of infection, it can also occur as a result of an injury to your tooth.
During a root canal treatment, the dentist removes the infected pulp from your tooth. Believe it or not, an otherwise healthy tooth can survive without its pulp. Other tissues around the tooth can help it stay alive.
How is a root canal done?
Here we turn to the American Association of Endodontists for an explanation. (An endodontist specializes in treating the insides of teeth.)
Modern root canal treatments are no more painful than getting a filling.
Before your treatment begins, the dentist will administer a local anesthetic. This will numb your infected tooth and the tissues around it.
You may also like to know that we offer dental sedation to help you feel as relaxed as possible during your procedure.
During your treatment, the dentist creates a small hole in your crown. This allows him or her to remove the infected pulp with special tools. He or she then shapes, cleans and disinfects the hole inside your tooth.
The dentist fills the hole with a substance called gutta-percha. This is made from the sap of a tree originally native to Malaysia. The filling helps to protect the tooth from bacterial infections.
After the dentist completes filling your tooth, he or she caps the opening so it looks like any other tooth in your mouth.
When your procedure is complete, you should follow the dentist’s instructions. You may experience some discomfort for short time after the procedure, but over-the-counter medicines are often enough to deal with that.
What are the benefits of a root canal?
Having a root canal is not something to dread. If you need this treatment, it may just save your tooth and your smile.
By preserving as much of your real tooth as possible, you will still have your full chewing power. This may not sound like much, but ask someone who has lost some of their bite force how it affects him or her.
Your tooth will still look like a healthy, normal tooth. This means no discoloration due to tooth decay.
Keeping your tooth also protects the teeth around it. Teeth support one another, and when one is missing, the teeth close to it lose part of their support system.
In other words, by saving your tooth with a root canal, you can keep eating what you like, your teeth will keep looking like your teeth, and your teeth continue to get the mutual benefit from one another.
How do you know if you might need a root canal?
There are several symptoms that could indicate that you may have an infected tooth.
– Pain when you are chewing
– Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
– A bitter taste in your mouth
– Foul breath odor
– Red or swollen gums
– Swelling of the upper or lower jaw
– Swelling of your neck glands
– An open sore that drains on the side of your gum
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. Even if you do not have an infection requiring a root canal, it’s likely you will need some other treatment.
End your pain
Tooth pain should not be part of your daily life. You can do something about it, and we can help you.
Call Nashua Family Dentistry at 603-546-7460 or fill out our online form to schedule your appointment. The quicker you act, the sooner we can end your pain.