Root canal: Just the name of the procedure induces feelings of dread in many people. Hower, although root canals have an (unfairly) deserved reputation of being unpleasant, painful procedures, you might be surprised to find out they’re not as bad as you think. As is often the case, people tend to fear the unknown or what they don’t understand. But some basic facts can go a long way towards answering questions and dispelling fears, especially with Dunnellon, FL dentist Dr. Carter Perkins of Perkins Dentistry providing the answers.
What is a Root Canal?
The root canal therapy — which many refer to as simply a “root canal” — becomes necessary when the tissues inside your tooth — the pulp — become infected. This is usually the result of bacteria entering the insides of your tooth through deep decay (cavities) or a chip or crack in the enamel — the surface — of your tooth.
This infection can spread to the tooth’s root canals — hence the name of the treatment — and into the tissues of your gums forming an abscess. Abscesses are very severe and painful infections that are dangerous to your overall health, having been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as being a threat to your teeth.
When Do I Need a Root Canal?
There are usually signs that a root canal might be necessary. These signs include sensitivity of the tooth to hot and cold, to touch or use chewing, and inflamed and sensitive gums around the tooth. You should inform your dentist of these and any other symptoms you may be having as soon as possible. This will allow your dentist to decide if a root canal is necessary and appropriate for your condition. Some dentists perform their own root canals while others will refer you to an endodontist — a dental specialist who specializes in treating the insides of your teeth.
The Root Canal Procedure
Your dentist will thoroughly numb the area to be treated before the procedure begins and then open the infected tooth by drilling down into it to remove the infected pulp in its’ roots. Once we are adults, the pulp is safe to remove because our teeth no longer need it as continue to be nourished by the surrounding tissues.
Once the pulp has been removed, the inside is temporarily packed with a biocompatible material until restoration can begin. In extreme cases, where tooth decay has damaged one of the roots to the point that the tooth has become unstable, a tiny metal rod may need to be inserted. This will hold the tooth in place in your gums.
Restoration is the final part of the process in which your dentist or endodontist creates a crown — a lifelike prosthetic tooth — and installs it over your damaged tooth. The crown will be crafted using cutting edge computer design technology and will be made of material that matches the natural shade of your teeth. The crown will close up the tooth, preventing the infection from returning inside. The inflamed tissues surrounding the site should recede in only a few days and then the new crown can be used to chew and cleaned just like your natural teeth.
Why The Bad Reputation?
Many people avoid having root canal therapy due to the belief that the procedure will be painful. Root canals may have been painful decades ago but thanks to our modern technology and anesthetics, the procedure is only about as uncomfortable as having a filling placed.
Comfortable Root Canal Treatment in Dunnellon, FL
So root canals really aren’t anything to be afraid of but are really a helpful procedure designed to alleviate pain and save your natural teeth. Even so, it’s easier to avoid a root canal if you can help than have one. Brushing twice daily, flossing daily and scheduling regular exams with Dr. Perkins, his associate Dr. Barth or your area dentist are all important steps to preventing an infected root, especially if your teeth have recently developed any chips or cracks.
To schedule with Perkins Dentistry today, call (352) 440-5827 or schedule an appointment online.