Few phrases strike fear in the hearts of adults like “root canal,” but it doesn’t have to be that way. A root canal can restore decayed, infected teeth, and thanks to advances in dentistry, the procedure causes minimal discomfort, especially compared with having a damaged tooth. At West Brazos Dental Center in West Columbia, Texas, the team of family dentists performs this tooth-saving procedure.
Root Canal Q & A
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a procedure to repair and save teeth that are decayed, infected, or injured and to provide relief from pain. Your dentist removes infected nerves and tissues, or pulp, inside your tooth. Then, they use dental materials to fill the resulting cavity and seal the tooth.
The nerves in your teeth detect hot and cold, but you don’t actually need them to chew food or perform other functions. Your teeth can be perfectly healthy without pulp. That’s why a root canal can fully restore a tooth.
Dental pulp infections don’t always cause symptoms. However, you may need a root canal if you experience:
A severe toothache, worse with chewing or pressure
Pain from heat or cold, even after the heat or cold is gone
Swelling and/or tenderness in gums
Abscesses or pimples
Schedule an appointment at West Brazos Dental Center right away if you think your tooth may be infected or inflamed.
Are root canals painful?
Admittedly, root canals have a bad reputation, but it’s out of date. If your tooth is bothering you, you may plan to have it pulled or get it replaced with an artificial tooth, but you don’t need to be afraid of a root canal. With advances in modern dentistry, including local anesthesia, a root canal causes minimal discomfort, no worse than having a cavity filled.
If you’re a candidate for a root canal, you’re already in pain. As a general rule, an infection that requires a root canal is far more painful than the procedure itself, or your recovery from it. A root canal relieves your pain.
Why should I get a root canal instead of an extraction or artificial tooth?
You should try to save your natural teeth whenever possible. No restoration can fully substitute for the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth. Though there are a number of advanced, effective tooth replacement procedures, including implants, crowns, and bridges, these still aren’t the same as having your natural teeth.
When you have a root canal, you can usually keep the natural tooth for the rest of your life with proper dental care.
An extraction isn’t a substitute for a root canal. Though having one tooth extracted may not seem like a big deal, especially if it’s in a place other people can’t see, the consequences are more serious than you’d think. Even one missing tooth can cause problems with chewing, speaking, and the alignment of your teeth, and an extraction hurts far more than a modern root canal.
Don’t lose your tooth to an infection. To find out more about root canals, schedule an appointment at West Brazos Dental Center.