Could You Use An ‘Extended Filling’?
If a horror filmmaker wanted to really scare his audience, he could probably make a movie called Root Canal.
They probably wouldn’t have to do anything special with the marketing. A black poster with the words “Root Canal” superimposed might be enough to terrify moviegoers.
Then again, that might scare people so much that the movie doesn’t make any money at all.
We are basing this on some of the reactions we have seen when we have informed a patient that he or she needs a root canal treatment.
For a patient with dental anxiety, this can be difficult to hear. Yet, we have also noticed news of a necessary root canal treatment creates anxiety among people who are usually comfortable in our office, too.
Most of the dread we sense at Hubbard & Leath Dental is not because of what root canal treatments are like but rather what people think this procedure is like.
Our dentists don’t want anyone to be afraid of a root canal treatment. If you live in Auburn Hills, Troy, or Rochester Hills, MI, we want you to understand what to expect and why you may need it.
An ‘Extended Filling’
Our own Dr. Leath described modern root canal treatments as being like an “extended filling.”
Dental fillings are our preferred method for treating cavities or tooth decay. They can be performed without causing any pain, and they are a great way to restore the function and the appearance of your tooth.
During a filling, the dentist can numb your tooth before the procedure begins. This way you won’t feel any pain throughout the process.
After removing the decay from your tooth, our dentists use a composite resin to fill in the space and reshape your tooth.
The extended filling analogy holds up even more when you consider that one of the reasons you may need a root canal treatment is because of untreated tooth decay.
If you had a cavity and either you refused to deal with it or you did not realize you had one, then bacteria would continue eating deeper into your tooth.
In time, it would reach the center of your tooth. This is the pulp chamber, which connects to your root canals. These are openings in the “legs” of your teeth where blood vessels and nerves enter your tooth.
The rest of the pulp chamber and the root canals are filled with pulp, which is a soft connective tissue. Bacteria can cause the pulp to become infected or inflamed.
Increased tooth sensitivity, pain when eating, and lingering tooth pain all may be symptoms of an infected tooth.
As with a dental filling, we are seeking to remove the bacteria that is damaging your tooth during a root canal procedure. Again, we can start by numbing your tooth and the nearby soft tissues.
Then, we will remove the infection from your tooth by taking out the pulp, the nerves, and the blood vessels. We then clean the inside of your tooth before filling it with a material the reduces your risk of a new infection.
From here, we may seal your tooth with an actual dental filling or a dental crown, depending how large an opening was needed to repair your tooth.
Root Canal Anxiety
Dental anxiety is normal, and we treat patients nearly every day with this issue. However, we also know that root canal treatments can increase the anxiety levels of people who are already fearful and create anxiety in people who don’t have it.
Sometimes a better understanding of the procedure is enough. Other times, we need other ways to help them relax.
This is when we may recommend nitrous oxide. This is a simple, fast-acting, and effective form of sedation dentistry.
Nitrous oxide does two important things. First, it induces a state of calm and relaxation. Second, it has an analgesic effect, which means you won’t feel any pain throughout your procedure.
Most of the time people who are under the effect of nitrous oxide don’t remember much of anything about their treatment. For some patients, that is a benefit as well.
Taking nitrous oxide really is as simple as breathing in the gas and removing the mask so you can exhale what’s left when the treatment is over.
Would You Like To Know More?
Our dentist office serves Rochester Hills, MI, and we serve the surrounding communities as well.