Are you ignoring tooth pain because you fear you’ll be told you need a root canal? This procedure may sound scary, but it’s a routine way to save a decaying tooth — and it hurts far less than the pain you can experience with a damaged tooth.
At Trident Dental, the experienced dental team regularly performs root canals and successfully restores the health and comfort of patients in Houston, Texas. Here, we explain what a root canal is all about so you understand how the procedure effectively puts an end to your tooth pain.
Do I really need a root canal?
Root canals are a straightforward and generally pain-free procedure designed to save a tooth that’s been infected with bacteria all the way to the pulp.
The pulp is a collection of nerves and blood vessels encased in the hard enamel of your tooth. While the pulp is important as your tooth is developing and erupting through the gums, it isn’t necessary to the structure of a mature tooth.
If your tooth has cracked or decayed, this pulp can become infected, causing serious pain and complications. Signs that your pulp is infected or compromised include:
- Tenderness and swelling
- Severe pain, especially when biting down
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- A pimple or abscess on your gum
A root canal removes the pulp and cleans and seals the inside of the tooth to ease pain and eradicate infection or decay.
The process of decay or infection is quite painful. A root canal eliminates this pain. You might have slight aching or discomfort a day or two after your root canal procedure, but these brief side effects are nothing compared to the pain of an infected tooth. You don’t have to live with tooth pain, and you shouldn’t ignore it.
Does it really matter if I lose one tooth?
Eliminating pain is a great reason to have a root canal. The primary benefit, however, is to save your natural tooth. Your teeth play a vital role in your oral health, and nothing is better than the ones you’ve got. When you lose one, it does more than impact your smile.
Missing teeth can cause:
- Surrounding teeth to shift out of position
- Difficulty chewing or talking
- Changes to your bite and jaw alignment
- Pockets where bacteria can grow, increasing your risk of gum disease
When you lose a tooth, you also risk the integrity of your jawbone. Tooth roots stimulate
bone health. When your jawbone degrades, so does your smile and the structure of your face.
Why do root canals get such a bad reputation?
The painful infection or decay that leads you to need a root canal is the problem, not the procedure itself. Root canals don’t generally hurt because of the numbing medications and anesthesia we use that make you comfortable during the procedure. Modern technology and skilled practitioners mean you don’t have to worry.
What happens during a root canal?
When you come in for your appointment, we apply numbing agents to your tooth and the surrounding area so you won’t feel a thing during the procedure. Your dentist then uses a small drill to make a tiny opening in your tooth.
Your dentist removes the inner decay, nerve tissues, bacteria, and pulp. The inside of your tooth is thoroughly cleaned before being filled with a medicated dental material known as gutta-percha that restores strength and structure to your tooth.
A root canal preserves your tooth, but it’s more vulnerable to damage after treatment. We recommend covering it with a dental crown for protection.
Don’t ignore the pain. Call Trident Dental today if you’re suffering symptoms that suggest you need a root canal or set up your appointment using our online request tool.