Root Canals Shouldn’t Be Scary

root canalRoot canal.

Wait. Why are you running from the room? Halloween’s over. Just the term is enough to give some people an anxiety attack. Maybe they watched the old movie Marathon Man one too many times (Is it safe?). Maybe it’s stories from your uncle back 40 years ago.

Whatever the cause, root canals need a new publicist! This procedure we use at Broadway Family Dentistry is really a tooth saver, and that’s a good thing because saving a tooth is always preferable to having to replace it. Plus, the modern root canal doesn’t involve any more discomfort than having a cavity filled.

The team at Broadway wants to clear up some of this fear of the root canal.

What happens to dictate the need for a root canal?

Every tooth has one or more roots that anchor the tooth into the jawbone. Nerves and blood vessels run through several tiny channels or “canals” in the root into the pulp at the center of the tooth. Sometimes, a cavity or fracture allows bacteria to penetrate through the enamel on the outer tooth, infecting the inner part of the tooth, the dentin. If the infection grows, the tooth can develop an abscess. Now the tooth is in a bad way, as the bacteria spreads down into the root canals and possibly into the surrounding gum tissue.

At this point, a root canal will be necessary to:

  • Minimize pain
  • Remove infected and dead tooth tissue
  • Reduce swelling
  • Get rid of all the bacteria and keep it from spreading
  • Salvage healthy tooth structure
  • Maintain function of the tooth

The root canal process

This is where people get the wrong idea about pain and root canals. When the interior of a tooth becomes infected, all of the sudden nerves are exposed. That equals serious pain. People project this pain onto the root canal procedure. Actually, the root canal is done to remove the cause of the pain!

Here’s what the Broadway Dentistry team does.

In a root canal, once you’re given local anesthesia, we drill into the infected tooth to access the infected pulp. We then diligently remove all the infected pulp, along with the tooth root (and all its nerves — the pain cause). Everything is thoroughly disinfected and then the now-hollow tooth is filled with a rubber-based substance known as gutta percha. A crown or filling closes the hole and you’re done. Plus, your tooth is saved, often for the remainder of your life!

How much does a root canal hurt?

The truth is a root canal procedure is no more painful than getting a typical filling. You read that right. Really the only pain is the slight prick of the initial anesthesia, along with some minor jaw aches afterwards due to having your mouth open. Remember, the root canal is what is going to get rid of the extreme pain caused by your infected tooth!

If you’re having some tooth pain, decay could have entered one of your teeth. Call us at Broadway Family Dentistry, 701-839-1299, to make your appointment.