Root canal therapy has a bad reputation. There’s no getting around it. These two little words have been known to strike fear into the hearts of even the toughest of men and women. Try saying “root canal” in your next conversation and see what kind of reaction you get from your friend or colleague.
We suspect this bad reputation is due to the fact that root canal treatments were, at one time in history, a pretty traumatic affair. Before dental anesthetics were reliable and in widespread use, a root canal meant a very long, potentially painful procedure.
Do you need root canal therapy to save your damaged tooth? Dr. Farhana Rassiwala can give you a trauma-free treatment in her Dublin CA dental office. Call us at 925-833-9500 to make an appointment at Inspire Smiles Dental.
We are pleased to report that root canal therapy today is far different. We never begin a root canal until we know our patient has been successfully numbed from all sensation in the region. Root canals are faster than in the past, as the tools we use have been advancing at a rapid pace. For example, surgical microscopes, laser cutting tools, and ultrasound treatments all make root canals faster and more efficient than they were 50 years ago.
What IS a Root Canal?
This procedure gets its name from the tiny canals that extend from the pulp to the dentin in a tooth’s root. Its proper name is pulp therapy, or endodontic therapy, because it treats the inside of the tooth. When an infection reaches the inside of said tooth, there is no way to heal it other than removing the living tissues and cleaning the inside of pulp chamber. Once all the nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues have been removed, we clean it thoroughly, fill the tooth with a rubber-like substance, and finish it with a dental filling or crown. Technically, the tooth is no longer alive, but you can keep using it like all your other teeth indefinitely.
All you need to know is that root canal therapy is the best way to restore a badly damaged tooth. Whether your problem tooth is suffering from pervasive decay or is infected due to a deep crack or fracture, root canals end your pain and restore your dentition. Since the nerve endings are removed from the tooth, you won’t feel that throbbing toothache or shooting pain ever again.
What’s Worse than a Root Canal?
You should be more worried about what might happen if you neglect a tooth that needs a root canal. An infected tooth may continue to decay for several months or years, during which time you can expect severe pain as it worsens. Teeth cannot heal themselves of infection, so ultimately the tooth would have to be extracted once the damage is too widespread. Worse yet, an infected tooth can develop an abscess (pocket of infection) in the gum tissue nearby. Abscesses and untreated infections are potentially dangerous to your overall health, because they can spread infection to your blood and vital organs. People have been known to die from untreated tooth infections, so it’s not a matter to take lightly.
What to Expect During a Root Canal
At your root canal appointment, you can expect the treatment to start out like a standard filling. We may need to take x-rays to assess the tooth, and then will administer an anesthetic injection to block the nerve. When we are sure you are adequately numb, Dr. Rassiwala will go in and remove bacteria and decayed tooth matter, slowly making her way to the inside of the tooth. Once she reaches the pulp chamber, she will (1) remove all the internal tissues and smooth out the insides of the root, (2) sanitize the area thoroughly, (3) fill the hollow tooth with gutta percha, (4) seal the tooth with dental cement, and (5) apply a filling or temporary crown to finish the treatment. We’ve simplified the many steps in this explanation, but the truth is that Dr. Rassiwala will use a number of specific tools to accomplish these steps. She will be doing a lot of business in your mouth, and it may seem to take forever—but we promise it is worth your patience!
Please note that root canals usually require two appointments, so you may need to wait one to two weeks for your permanent crown to be fabricated. You will be fitted with a temporary crown in the interim, and Dr. Rassiwala will explain how best to care for your newly restored tooth and crown.
Root canals are nothing to fear! If you have been told you need a root canal, visit our Dublin CA dental office to have your tooth restored and your pain ended. Call us at 925-833-9500 to make an appointment.
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