Why are root canals one of the most commonly-feared dental procedures? Many people fear them because they’ve heard they’re painful or full of complications, and we’ve all heard plenty of dental horror stories. But are they really that bad? Dr. Nicholas F. Gardner and his team in Gouverneur, NY have many years of experience performing root canal therapy.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal therapy, more commonly referred to simply as a root canal, becomes necessary when the sensitive tissues inside one or more teeth becomes infected. While teeth are hard on the outside, they’re filled with sensitive tissues, collectively called the pulp, that can become infected as a result of deep cavities or even a chip or crack on the surface of the tooth.
When the infection spreads down through the tooth to its root canals, this forms a painful abscess that must be treated because it can put your overall health at risk.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
If you have a tooth that’s very sensitive to temperature, touch, or it hurts to chew, make an appointment with your dentist right away. You may also have inflamed and sensitive gums around the tooth. Sometimes, the recommended treatment is indeed a root canal, but there are other options. Tell your dentist about all of your symptoms so they can recommend the most conservative, effective treatment.
Root Canal Procedure
As with many dental procedures, the first step of a root canal treatment is to numb the area. Then, your dentist will drill down into the infected tooth to remove the infected pulp. Adult teeth no longer require the pulp because they will receive nutrients from surrounding tissues.
Next, your dentist will fill the now-empty space inside the tooth while a crown is created. In some cases, where tooth decay has made the tooth unstable, a small metal rod is inserted into the root to stabilize the tooth in position.
Finally, a crown is created and placed over the tooth, which will match the natural color of your teeth, so you won’t even see it — just like a regular filling. After a few days, your tooth will be good as new!
Things to Know
Root canals may have been quite painful decades ago but with our modern dental technology and anesthetics, the procedure is similar to having a filling installed.
So the big, bad root canal is actually not so scary after all. Instead it’s a helpful procedure designed to save your natural teeth, relieve dental pain, and allow you to chew properly and smile confidently. As with most ailments, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Brushing twice daily, flossing daily and scheduling regular exams with your dentist are all important steps to avoid needing a root canal, especially if your teeth have recently developed any chips or cracks.
If you do need a root canal, now you know there’s really nothing to fear. To schedule with Dr. Gardner today, call (315) 203-1772 or schedule an appointment online.