The root canal: Just hearing the name makes some people shiver. “I’m going to need a root canal.” But are they really that bad? People are often afraid of the unknown. However, a little knowledge can put things in perspective and cut that big, scary root canal right down to size. So let’s take a closer look at the root canal and show it who’s boss.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal therapy, often simply referred to as a “root canal”, becomes necessary when the tissue inside your tooth, also known as the pulp, becomes infected. This is often due to deep decay, also known as a cavity, or a chip or a crack in the surface of your tooth. This infection in the pulp can spread down into the root canals and then into the tissues of your gums, festering until it becomes an abscess. An abscess is a severe and painful infection that, if untreated, can lead to other health complications.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

Signs that your tooth may need a root canal can include tooth sensitivity to temperature extremes, sensitivity to touch or while chewing, and inflamed and sensitive gums around the tooth. You should inform your Davis Family Dentistry dentist during your exam about these and any other symptoms you may be having. This way, your dentist has all the information he or she needs to decide if a root canal is necessary for your condition. Davis Family Dentistry performs most of the root canals in-house in their Bedford TX offices. However, some dentists will refer you to an outside endodontist. An endodontist is a specialist dentist who specifically treats the insides of your teeth.

Root Canal Therapy

A root canal therapy consists of your dentist or endodontist drilling down into the crown of your infected tooth to excise the infected pulp from inside the tooth and the root canals. As adults, our teeth no longer require the pulp as they continue to be nourished by the surrounding tissues. After the pulp has been removed, a biocompatible material is temporarily inserted into the now-empty space inside your tooth until your dentist can begin the restoration. In cases where tooth decay may have made the tooth unstable by eating away at one of the roots, a tiny metal rod may need to be installed in the root to hold the tooth in place in your gums.

In the last stage of the process of restoration, a crown is created by your dentist and placed over your compromised tooth. Your dentist or specialist creates the crown to look like your natural teeth, even matching it to the hue of your existing teeth. The crown is used to seal up your tooth to prevent any further infections from entering. Once the swelling in the inflamed tissues goes down after several days, the “new” tooth can be used just like your natural teeth.

Things to Know

Many people endure pain or have teeth pulled due to hearing rumors that root canals will be painful or they may have even heard “horror stories” of complications from the procedure. The procedure may have been painful in decades past but with our modern technology and anesthetics, the procedure is only about as painful as a filling.

So hopefully, now that we’ve pulled the big bad root canal out into the light, you can see it for what it really is: a procedure designed to alleviate pain and save your natural teeth, helping you to chew properly and smile confidently. The old adage of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is true here as with most conditions. Brushing twice daily, flossing daily and scheduling regular exams with Dr. Paul Davis, Dr. Dakota Davis or Dr. Laura Drennan 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 no reason to be afraid. To schedule with Davis Family Dentistry in Bedford TX today, call 817.312.8869 or schedule an appointment online.

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