Answering Common Questions About Root Canals
If root canal treatments were people, they would have a bad reputation for all the wrong reasons.
If you have a tooth infection, a root canal is often the best and most effective way to remove the infection and preserve your oral health.
Yet, many people fear root canals because of horror stories they’ve heard from decades ago or because of some misinformation they read on the internet.
We know these fears are real. We’ve seen them more often than we can count at our dentist office in Rochester Hills, MI, after we’ve told patients that we are recommending root canal procedures.
We also know that much of that fear is the result of misunderstandings about what root canal treatments are like. Today, we want to answer some common questions people have about root canals.
Q: What Causes A Tooth Infection?
The simple answer is bacteria reach the innermost part of your tooth. This can cause the soft tissue inside your tooth to become inflamed, which can be quite painful.
This soft tissue is called pulp, and it can be found in the pulp chamber (in the center of your teeth) or the root canals (openings in the roots of your teeth). The root canals are where blood vessels and nerves enter each tooth.
When the pulp becomes inflamed, it can affect your blood vessels and nerves, too.
Q: How Do Tooth Infections Occur?
Infected teeth can develop in a few different ways. The first two both relate to oral hygiene and general dental care.
The reason dentists want you to brush, floss, and visit us for routine cleanings is to remove bacteria, along with plaque and tartar. By doing this, you greatly reduce your risk of two common oral health issues.
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria eats away at the enamel of your teeth. These can lead to cavities as the decay eats deeper into a tooth. If left untreated, the bacteria can eat into the softer dentin (the layer beneath the enamel) until it reaches the pulp at the center of your tooth.
Infected teeth also can develop as a result of untreated gum disease. When bacteria infected the tissue around the roots of your teeth, they may start to eat into the roots of your teeth as well. If they do this, they can reach the root canals, where they can infect the pulp as well.
Tooth infections also can develop as a result of accidents and injuries. A broken tooth can expose the dentin, which makes it that much easier for bacteria to reach the pulp chamber. Likewise, a cracked tooth can create an opening for bacteria to get inside a tooth.
Q: What Are The Symptoms Of A Tooth Infection?
▸ Increased sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweets
▸ A toothache that doesn’t go away
▸ Pain when biting or chewing with a particular tooth
▸ Swelling of the gums near the affected tooth
▸ Dark or discoloration of the tooth
Any of these are a reason to call Hubbard & Leath Dental at 248.266.2528.
Q: How Can A Root Canal Treatment Help?
During a root canal treatment, one of our dentists will remove the infected pulp along with the blood vessels and nerves in your infected tooth. This will alleviate any pain you may have been feeling.
The dentist also will sanitize the inside of the tooth to reduce the risk of a recurring infection. Then the tooth will be filled with a special material to help it maintain its shape.
Last, the tooth will be sealed to restore its appearance and its function.
Q: How Is A Pain-Free Root Canal Treatment Possible?
We can do this a couple ways. The first is to provide anesthetic to numb the tooth and the surrounding tissue. This way you won’t feel any pain throughout the procedure.
The second option is to use sedation dentistry. With either nitrous oxide or oral sedation, you will be in a relaxed state in which you won’t feel any pain throughout your root canal treatment.
Either way, you will enjoy the benefits of this restorative procedure without any reason to worry.
Q: How Can I Talk To Someone About A Root Canal?