When patients come into any of our dental office locations, the last thing they want to hear is, “You need a root canal.” They would much rather hear, “We have a way to save your tooth that won’t cause you extreme pain or discomfort.” You might be surprised to know that these two phrases are essentially one in the same!
Root canals have a bad reputation because people believe they are painful. The true pain is often experienced leading up to a root canal in the days or weeks spent trying to ignore a horrible toothache until it becomes too much to bear and you call your dentist. Thankfully, dental technology and treatments have advanced so much in the last several decades that what was once a feared and uncertain procedure is now performed regularly by dentists and is incredibly predictable. Root canals are not designed to cause pain; they are designed to relieve it.
Root Canals Save Damaged Or Infected Teeth
Root canal therapy, or more frequently called a ‘root canal’, is often the last chance you have to save a damaged or infected tooth. And while the word itself is enough to make most people cringe, this procedure is quite similar to a tooth filling.
A toothache doesn’t always result in a root canal. A toothache can be caused by a number of factors, but the bottom line is that the sooner you come in to see one of our dentists, the better. Whether it’s an infection, an injury, or tooth decay, dental problems rarely resolve themselves. A quick checkup now can mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth in the future.
The Root Canal Procedure
Each tooth is made up of several layers. The hard outer layer is called enamel, and this protects the soft inner layers of the tooth. Beneath the enamel is another hard layer called dentin, and beneath the dentin is soft tissue called pulp. The pulp of the tooth contains blood vessels and nerves. Housed inside your gums are the tips of the tooth root and nerves which extend into the pulp chamber.
If the pulp of the tooth becomes damaged, either by decay or a crack in the tooth, it will break down and bacteria will fill the pulp chamber. This can cause an infection within the pulp chamber or an abscess, where the infection forms a pus-filled pocket at the end of the tooth’s root.
At this point, a root canal might be necessary. During a root canal procedure, a small entrance hole is drilled into the tooth so the dentist can remove the infected pulp and thoroughly clean the chamber. Depending on the severity of the infection, your dentist may seal the tooth in the same appointment or they may apply medicine inside the tooth to clear up any lingering bacteria. After the infection is treated, a material is placed into the root canal and pulp chamber, and the entrance hole is sealed with a filling.
Contact Your Dentist Today
It is estimated that in America, over 15 million root canals are performed each year. That breaks down to about 41,000 people every day who undergo this common procedure. Our dentists care about your comfort and experience while at Century Dental, Century Dental East, or Seaview Dental. If you are visiting us for a toothache, your dentist will perform a thorough examination and go over your treatment options with you.
If you are experiencing any dental pain or discomfort, don’t wait for the problem to worsen. Contact any of our three New Jersey dental offices today to schedule an appointment.