Thursday, October 24, 2013

Understand Root Canals

The prospect of a root canal can strike fear into almost anyone's heart. Fortunately, dental procedures have become more advanced over the years and root canals are usually a pain-free and simple procedure. Understanding a root canal, especially the purpose and goals of root canal therapy, can go a long way in making the procedure less intimidating and making the patient feel more comfortable and relaxed in the dentist's chair.


1. Understand the purpose of a root canal. Root canals are dental procedures designed to save and repair decayed or infected teeth. In a root canal, the nerve and pulp of the damaged tooth are cleaned out and sealed. Without such treatment, a damaged tooth may become infected and abscessed, causing pain and even bone loss. A root canal allows you to keep your tooth and avoid costly extractions or dental implants.

2. Know the signs that a root canal is needed. Signs that you may need a root canal include severe tooth pain upon chewing, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, dull pain, swelling around the tooth or a darkening of the tooth. Only a dentist or endodontist can determine whether a root canal is needed. However, understanding and recognizing these signs at an early stage may avoid pain, abscess and infection.

3. Go over the procedure with your dentist. To relieve your mind and understand the process of a root canal, speak with your dentist. Your dentist can describe the root canal procedure in detail, using models or drawings, and can answer any questions or concerns you might have. Depending upon the difficulty of the root canal, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist for the root canal treatment. A root canal can take one to three treatments to fully seal and restore the tooth.

4. Discuss any questions or concerns with the dental staff. One of the main concerns many people have regarding root canals is pain. However, with the recent advances in dentistry techniques and the use of anesthesia, most patients do not find root canals any more painful than having a tooth filled. Most people require only aspirin or ibuprofen for any discomfort and can return to normal activities within a day or two after having the root canal.

5. Recognize the benefits. According to the American Dental Association, root canals have over a 95-percent success rate. Root canals allow you to keep your tooth, relieve ongoing pain and sensitivity, as well as prevent and repair any bone loss that could result if a damaged tooth goes untreated. Root canals are a preferred alternative to extraction since extractions can lead to the eventual shifting of teeth and bite problems.

Tags: root canal, damaged tooth, bone loss, canal needed, dental procedures, keep your