Root canal procedures tend to have a bad reputation, with lots of patients worrying that the procedure — and the recovery, for that matter — will be painful. The fact is, today’s root canal procedures use special techniques to help preserve your tooth without causing discomfort, which means you can maintain your beautiful smile without fear or anxiety. If you’ve got a root canal procedure in your future, here’s what you should know about this surprisingly common procedure.
The Important Role of Root Canal Therapy
About 15 million root canal procedures are performed each year in the U.S. — that’s about 41,000 procedures each day. Most people who need root canals have sharp or prolonged pain in and around the damaged tooth. That’s because the tooth has been damaged deep inside the central or “pulp” portion of the tooth where the blood vessels and nerves are located. While damage to the superficial layers of the tooth typically can be treated with a filling, deeper decay or infection needs special techniques to remove the damaged pulp portion to prevent infection and preserve the tooth.
But what if you don’t want a root canal procedure? Is there an alternative? Typically, the only alternative to having a root canal is undergoing an extraction — removing your tooth entirely. If you’re like most people, you really don’t want to lose a natural tooth. Not only can that leave you at risk for more oral health problems down the road, but when tooth loss also has an emotional impact — not to mention the cost of replacing the tooth with an implant or denture. Root canal procedures help prevent tooth loss by getting rid of the damaged or decayed pulp portion of the tooth while keeping the surrounding tooth material and the root “anchor” intact.
How Painful Is a Root Canal Treatment?
It’s great to know why a root canal is important, but what most patients really want to know is, how painful is a root canal procedure? We have some good news for you! At Smile Workshop, we offer all specialties under one roof, including endodontics. Our Endodontists use advanced pain management techniques to thoroughly numb the tooth before your root canal procedure begins. And if you’re really anxious (or if you don’t like needles), we can prescribe medicine to help you relax from start to finish.
Once your tooth is completely numb, our team uses special dental tools that have been specifically designed to reach the deeper layers of your teeth. After that deep area is accessed, we’ll carefully remove all the damaged pulp portion, eliminating painful symptoms and preventing serious infections. Once the pulp is removed, the canals will be gently cleaned and sealed, then filled with a special material to stabilize the tooth. After the root canal procedure, most patients have a crown applied on top of tooth for added strength and stability. A crown also hides any discoloration that can occur once the “living” portion of the tooth is removed.
Root canal procedures typically take less than two hours. Once the procedure is over, you’ll probably have some discomfort once the numbing agent wears off, but you’ll be able to relieve it with an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen. Better still: That nagging toothache you’ve been suffering from will be all gone, and your tooth will be stable and sound again.
Root Canals at Your Family Dentist
Priding ourselves in family and specialty dentistry, Smile Workshop offers state-of-the-art care for patients of all ages. Our general dentist team is skilled in root canal procedures, as well as our Endodontists, using advanced techniques to ensure our patients are comfortable through every stage of their treatment and recovery. If you’ve been having tooth pain, we can help you put an end to your symptoms and improve your oral health, too. To find out more about the root canal treatments we offer or to schedule an office visit, give us a call at 1-888-833-8404 today.