Many people think ‘root canal’ is a scary term, and it’s true that root canals aren’t pleasant. While they’re not typically very painful, they can be unpleasant. Understanding what’s happening during the procedure can help you understand why it’s necessary, and why you should try to avoid it in the first place.
The purpose of a root canal is to try to save as much of a dying tooth as possible – typically only the shell of the tooth root. The procedure effectively removes the living tissue within the tooth, but by doing so, it allows the dentist (or endodontist) to preserve the tooth’s shell and root. Rather than simply removing the tooth (which then requires an implant to fill the void where the removed tooth used to be), the dentist or endodontist will remove the top of the tooth, and then carefully remove the inflamed, infected pulp.
One of the things many patients find difficult is simply the length of the procedure. During the procedure, you’ll keep your mouth open for quite some time – it is delicate, time consuming work, and it may take a few hours. The dentist will use fine drills to remove nerve tissue from the deepest part of the tooth. Once the pulp is removed, the dentist will replace it with a synthetic resin that will add strength to the tooth roots, providing a base for a crown that will act like a normal tooth, without the need for a bridge or implant.
After the root canal, the dentist will have a lab create a crown (often metal, porcelain, or porcelain and metal), which will be cemented onto the resin built up within the root. The result is a new, fake tooth that looks, feels, and acts like a tooth, but because the nerve tissue is removed, it will feel no pain, and because the crown is synthetic, it will not decay.
Root canals aren’t fun, but they serve a purpose – they remove damaged, dying tooth pulp from within the tooth, allowing the patient to keep the tooth in place, minimize bone loss, and prevent infection or decay from spreading. It’s not the only option – if a dentist recommends a root canal, ask about other options such as implants – but it’s a viable solution for treating severely damaged teeth.
Call Dr. Ted Haines DDS for more information on root canals or to make an appointment today at 360-568-8577 or visit the website at tedhainesdds.com.
Dr. Haines of Snohomish, WA also proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.