What Is A Root Canal?

We talk about root canal treatment all the time, usually joking about the discomfort. But why do we need root canal treatment, what exactly is it and is it as horrible as everyone says?

Root canal treatment is used to save a tooth that is badly decayed and infected. The tooth root cannot be healed using oral antibiotics so the infected tissue must be removed. The nerve of a tooth provides sensory information, whether things are hot or cold for example, but is not necessary for the daily functioning of a tooth.

When a tooth has deep decay the nerve of the tooth becomes infected. Left untreated this infection can cause an abscess, a pus-filled pocket. This infection can travel throughout the body leading to serious health problems.

Most people discover they need a root canal because a tooth has become sensitive or they are experiencing a toothache. Sometimes there is no pain but there may be a swelling in the gums.

During a root canal procedure the area is numbed with anesthesia and an access hole is drilled into the tooth. The pulp of the tooth, including the diseased nerve tissue is removed. Medication may be placed in the tooth to clear up infection. The interior of the tooth is filled with a special compound, sometimes during the first appointment, but many times at a second appointment. The final step is restoring the tooth.

If the tooth had a large filling or extensive decay, the tooth structure has been significantly weakened. Preserving the tooth will most likely require a dental crown or a post and crown, to keep it from breaking.

So, is a root canal really as horrible as people say? Nope, not anymore. Back in the days before good anesthesia getting a root canal was probably pretty bad but today patients don’t feel a thing. The procedure is no more uncomfortable than getting a filling.

Don’t be afraid of saving a tooth through root canal therapy. With a 95% success rate, having a root canal is a great way to save a tooth. Find out more by contacting Dr. John Highsmith today at 828-627-9282 today!

Posted in: Oral Health

Leave a response