The term “root canal” is probably the most feared in all of dentistry. Root canals carry with them a reputation for being arduous and painful, often resulting in more pain than the tooth was causing to begin with. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Like many medical procedures, the once-fearsome root canal has come a long way in the past couple of decades. These days, it’s a generally painless procedure. Patients recover in about a day and need nothing more than over-the-counter medicine for any lingering discomfort.
So what exactly is a root canal, and why would you need one? Read on.
What Is a Root Canal?
If you’re suffering from tooth pain and are worried your dentist may recommend a root canal, let’s first explain what it is. A root canal is a standard dental procedure in which a damaged or diseased portion within a tooth is removed. The tooth is then filled and sealed, preventing further damage and eliminating the pain associated with the problem.
The inner part of your tooth, underneath the hard surface layer of enamel and the protective layer of dentin beneath, is a soft substance known as “pulp.” The pulp contains all the things your tooth needs to stay healthy—blood vessels, nerves, and tissue. One of the most important functions is to help grow the root of the tooth. If the root of the tooth begins to die or becomes infected, trouble ensues.
When the root is unhealthy, the pulp goes along with it, becoming infected and inflamed. This is where the real pain kicks in. It’s also when a root canal is called for.
During the procedure, the dentist fully anesthetizes the area around the tooth, then removes the pulp that’s causing the problem. Once it’s out, he cleans the space thoroughly, fills it, then seals the tooth to prevent further issues. We’ve done this countless times at South High Dental, and can promise it’s quick, painless, and remarkably effective. Just ask our patients.
But What About the Pain?
Again, the notion of a root canal being akin to medieval torture is an old one. Modern dental techniques make it a quick and easy procedure, much like getting a cavity filled. Patients report that the local anesthetic used—also much improved over the years—renders the process all but completely painless. Standard, OTC painkillers quickly treat any post-op pain. And most folks are back at school or work within 24 hours.
South High Dental
If you’re suffering from a chipped, cracked, or damaged tooth, experiencing pain while chewing or have general tooth pain or sensitivity that won’t go away, a root canal might be the best way to fix it. Even the slightest discomfort may be a sign of a bigger problem. The sooner you get treated, the easier the treatment. Reach out to the expert team at South High Dental 614.363.2462 to learn more about our practice and how we can help you get your smile back in shape.