Why is Everyone Afraid of Root Canals?

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Root canal: Just hearing the name of the procedure has the power to inspire dread in some people. Although root canals have a reputation of being unpleasant, painful procedures, you might be surprised to find out they’re not as bad as you’ve heard.  As with many things, we tend to fear what we don’t understand. But a little knowledge can help dispel that fear, so allow AH Smiles, a respected dental practice of Arlington Heights, IL, to educate you about the root canal.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal treatment is usually just referred to as a “root canal” by most people. This procedure is usually performed when the soft tissues inside your tooth — the pulp — become infected. This infection is usually the result of bacteria entering your tooth through deep decay such as cavities, or a chip or crack in the tooth. 

Once the infection has begun inside your tooth, it can spread down through the root canals of your teeth into tissues of your gums, forming an abscess. An abscess is a serious medical condition that needs treatment right away.  

When Do I Need a Root Canal?

Symptoms that indicate that a root canal may be necessary are sensitivity of a tooth to hot and cold, sensitivity to touch or while chewing, and inflamed and sensitive gums surrounding the tooth. You should schedule with your AH Smiles dentist or your area provider if you have any of these symptoms. He or she will decide if a root canal is necessary and appropriate for your condition. While many dentists perform their own root canals, some will refer you to an endodontist, a type of dental specialist who treats the insides of your teeth. 

The Root Canal Procedure

Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to thoroughly numb the tooth and the surrounding area where the procedure will be performed. Then, he or she will drill down through the enamel into the crown of the infected tooth. The infected pulp (soft tissue) will then be removed from inside the tooth and the supporting root canals. Once our adult teeth have finished growing in, they no longer require the pulp to survive as the surrounding tissues continue to nourish them.

Once the infected pulp has been removed, your dentist will fill temporarily the space inside the tooth with a biocompatible material until restoration can begin. In some cases, where tooth decay has damaged the roots, making  the tooth unstable, your dentist may insert a tiny metal rod down into the root to hold the tooth in place in your gums.  

Restoration, the final stage, is the process whereby a crown will be created and placed over your compromised tooth. Your dentist or specialist will craft the crown to look as close to your natural teeth as possible, and will use it to seal up the tooth. Within several days, the swelling at the site will recede and the tooth is good as new.

Why The Bad Reputation?

Many people are frightened of undergoing a root canal treatment due to the mistaken belief that the procedure will be painful. Root canals may once have been uncomfortable when the procedure was first performed, but thanks to modern anesthetics and dental technology, the procedure is now only about as uncomfortable as having a filling placed. 

Comfortable Root Canal Treatment in Arlington Heights, IL

So now you see a root canal really isn’t anything to fear.  Instead it’s a helpful procedure designed to alleviate pain and save your natural teeth from decay, allowing you to chew properly and smile confidently.

As with most illnesses, it is far easier to prevent the need for a root canal than actually have one. Brushing twice daily, flossing every day and scheduling regular exams with your local provider or an AH Smiles dentist are all important steps to avoid needing a root canal, especially if your teeth have recently developed any chips or cracks. To schedule a consultation with AH Smiles today, call (847) 230-9703 or contact us online.