When someone says, “I’d rather have a root canal,” they’re usually talking about a very unpleasant task or situation. But root canals have gotten a bit of a bum rap—with modern dental techniques, they’re much easier to handle than they used to be.
And better yet—a root canal is one of the most effective ways of saving a tooth.
Root canals are done if the nerve chamber, the interior structure of the tooth, has been damaged by decay or other cause. The nerve or pulp chamber contains blood vessels and other structures that provide nourishment for cells within the tooth. If this chamber becomes damaged, the tooth is weakened and may become easily infected. And the patient may be experiencing significant pain and swelling.
In a root canal procedure, the dentist removes the damaged or infected pulp, replacing it with a filling material that maintains the tooth structure. This is a five-step process.
The tooth is Anesthetized for comfort, and an opening is made through the top or crown into the pulp chamber. The dentist then determines the length of the root canals needed, and the unhealthy pulp is removed. Canals are filled and sealed, and a temporary filling may be put into place until a porcelain crown is fitted to maximize the strength of the tooth.
The procedure takes time, but with modern techniques and tools, it is much easier and much more comfortable than it was in the past.
If you think you have a tooth with damage significant enough to consider a root canal, but are hesitant about contacting your dentist because of all the stories you’ve heard, consider this: Times have changed – NEW technology is available. Losing your tooth could ultimately be more painful than having a root canal.