The very mention of root canal is often enough to send people into a panic. In fact it can cause a phobia that prevents you from even visiting the dentist; and you’re not alone.
That’s why it’s essential to understand what root canal actually is and deal with the most frequently asked questions.
What Is Root Canal
When the inside of your tooth becomes inflamed it needs to be treated. If it isn’t then you are likely to develop an abscess and the root of your tooth can die; potentially causing more complications in the future.
Root canal involves removing the interior of your tooth and then carefully cleaning it. Once this is done the hole is filled with a special material known as gutta-percha. This is rubber like and seals the interior of your tooth; protecting it from future harm. A filling is then added if necessary and a crown to ensure your teeth looks and functions like any of your other teeth.
Why You May Need Root Canal
The most common cause is through deep decay, a fracture, crack or even repeated dental procedures on the same tooth. Trauma can also cause damage which cannot always be seen. Once the interior of your tooth is damaged it will need to be excavated, cleaned and refilled.
Is Root Canal Painful
This is perhaps the most commonly asked question and the answer that people fear the most. The simple answer is no. In fact, root canal should cause no more pain than having a filling done. You will also receive anesthetics which will make sure the pain is minimal if at all.
In fact, the whole procedure can usually be completed in one dental visit.
Are X-Rays Safe?
Part of having a root canal treatment means having an X-ray to assess the extent of the issues. While it is true that X-rays use radioactive rays; it has been deemed safe for humans to have several in their lifetime without risk of adverse effects.
However, you’ll also find that most dentists now use digital radiography which produces 90% less radiation than the traditional methods!
Do I Need Root Canal If the Tooth Isn’t A Pain?
Once the initial pain is gone it is easy to think that the problem has resolved itself. Unfortunately, this simply means that the nerve in your root has died. Any infection will remain and can lead to complications in the future.
Untreated infection in your teeth can lead to serious health issues and even death; it is better to get it treated as soon as possible.
Why Not Just Extract The Tooth
This is certainly an option and an attractive one to those on a low budget. However, extracting a tooth can lead to the need for an implant or even a bridge to ensure the strength of the remaining teeth.
Over time this will cost more than the root canal treatment and you’ll have lost a natural tooth which can never be replaced in quite the same way.
Where ever possible it is better to keep your teeth.