One of the most dreaded dental procedures is also one of the most misunderstood. A root canal, or endodontic therapy, is how your dentist treats a tooth that has become infected with bacteria.
As dental professionals, we know more than most how people feel about root canals. Most of these feelings are based on unfounded preconceptions about the procedure. In our office (conveniently located in Carmel, IN) , we think it’s a big part of our job to make sure that you, our patients, are well-educated on all the procedures we can perform, so that you can make the best possible decision to suit your specific oral health needs and lifestyle. However, some patients need a little more help, which is why we also offer sedation dentistry to assist you in getting the care you need, when you need it (rather than waiting until the problem can no longer be ignored).
What is a Root Canal?
When your tooth sustains damage, such as a fracture resulting from disease or an injury, it becomes vulnerable to infection by the bacteria that naturally live inside your mouth. Without intervention, the infection will make its way down the tooth, into the root canals, and into the gums and jawbone. This is why abscesses form: abscesses are pus-filled pockets that form due to an infection. An abscess can be dangerous: it can lead to tooth loss, spread the infection to the rest of the body, and even death in some cases.
To stop the infection from spreading, your dentist will perform a root canal treatment which involves the following steps:
- Application of Local Anesthetic
- Tooth Preparation
- Dental Pulp Removal
- Filling (Using a Natural Latex)
Without the dental pulp, your tooth will not be able to produce the dentin that gives it structural strength, so a dental crown will also be placed on the tooth to help protect it from further damage and infection. Even so, with a durable and well-placed crown, your tooth will still be able to do its job much better than any artificial replacement. We can make you a custom crown out of a number of materials, including porcelain.
Why Do People Fear Root Canal?
Our patients often tell us that they’re afraid of getting a root canal because of the pain they expect to experience, and they also believe that recovery times for a root canal are lengthy. Neither of these are true: today, a root canal is about as “intense” as filling a cavity; furthermore, your root canal recovery time is relatively short, and is characterized by tenderness around the tooth that was treated (this can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers).
Some of our patients have even said they’re nervous about getting a root canal because of things they’ve read online. The negative things you hear about root canals on the internet are rumors; a recent example is an e-mail “chain letter” that states that 95% of cancer patients have had a root canal, suggesting then that a root canal is the cause of cancer. There is no link between root canal (endodontic therapy) and cancer, or any other serious illness. These rumors and misconceptions are sometimes spread by people who simply don’t know any better, but for the most part they are spread by unscrupulous individuals (including some dentists) that have figured out how to profit by creating controversy. If you have questions about dentistry, your teeth, or your oral health, call us first. That’s why we’re here!
Sedation Dentistry and Root Canal
Some patients fear root canals because they believe it will be very painful, or because of some bad information they’ve picked up. However, many patients may be apprehensive about getting a root canal simply because it is a dental procedure. If you have a difficult time getting comfortable in the dentist’s chair due to overwhelming or even intolerable anxiety, or if you have a tendency to put off going to the dentist, even if you know you have a problem, you may have a condition called dental anxiety.
If you have dental anxiety, you may be suffering needlessly; that toothache won’t go away on its own, and the longer you put off your treatment, the worse it will get. That’s why we offer a number of sedation and relaxation dentistry techniques to our patients who struggle with dental anxiety.
In our next post, we’ll get into the details of sedation and relaxation dentistry, and the problems you can avoid by catching oral health issues before they get out of control.
Toothache Won’t Go Away?
If you have a persistent toothache that won’t go away, or you have tooth that has become very sensitive to temperature, or a tooth that is very darkly discolored, these are all signs of an infected tooth and it should be addressed immediately.
Make an appointment with us today! Dial 317-597-8748 or click here to use our online appointment form to book your visit now.