There’s a lot of “dread” related to a root canal.
We want you to know the anticipation and avoidance is MUCH worse than the actual procedure. Most people think of root canals as painful, but once you know what it actually entails, you’ll understand the value of the procedure – and that it’s not actually that bad.
In fact, if you don’t get that root canal, you will undoubtedly experience pain of an infection that spreads and eventually tooth loss. To your dentist, those options are far scarier than a root canal, especially now that patients have so many great sedation options to make the experience a positive one.
So what happens in a root canal, and what exactly are we accomplishing when you get one? Let’s cover the basics –
- The nerve at the root of your tooth has become infected or might even be dead. During a root canal, infected tissue will be removed from your tooth.
- A dentist (or in some cases an endodontist, a soft tissue specialist) will perform the root canal. It usually takes two office appointments to complete the full procedure.
- You’ll experience very little pain once it’s done. Think of it as a filling that takes 2 visits.
Now that your know the basics, here is a closer look at the actual procedure. To decide whether a root canal is necessary, the dentist will first do an x-ray to assess the situation. If a damaged or infected nerve is found, a root canal appointment will be scheduled.
Once you are in the chair ready to go, the dentist will numb the area and make sure the incision area is dry. Sedation methods and anesthesias give patients the option of remaining conscious and not remembering the procedure – or allowing the patient to be asleep during the actual procedure. The best idea is to talk with your dentist about your level of comfort and what would be best for the procedure.
Now that you’re comfortable, we will go through the top of the tooth to get to the nerve, or the pulp. The infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned out. A temporary filling is then added to help seal the top of the tooth.
On your second visit, a more permanent filling or crown is placed on the tooth. We may also prescribe medication depending on the severity of the infected tooth.
You might be wondering, “How do I know if I need a root canal?” Symptoms that might alert you of damaged soft tissue could include: pain when chewing, extreme sensitivity to cold/hot, a cracked tooth, or discoloration of the gums. Make sure to check in with your dentist if you notice any of these warning signs – but keep in mind you may not have any warning signs at all, and it will take the dentist to know.
Norge Dental Center patients are uneasy about root canals. Our goal is to make the process as easy as possible.
Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment if you have any questions or concerns. Sounds pretty easy, right? So the next time someone says, I would rather have a root canal – just know that they might actually mean it!