The Truth About Root Canals

A root canal is a dental procedure that is used to repair or save a tooth that has been damaged or become infected. The procedure involves removing the nerve and pulp so that the inside of the tooth can be cleaned and sealed. This is important because the surrounding tissue can form abscesses if the problem is not dealt with.

A root canal is the term that we use to describe the hollow centre within a tooth. The soft area within it is known as the pulp chamber, and the nerve lies within this canal, which provides the hot or cold sensations that we get when we eat or drink. Other than this function the nerve is not vital to the health of the tooth itself.

The day-to-day functioning of the tooth is not affected by the presence or absence of a nerve. With that being said, a tooth’s nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected as a result of trauma or infection. This is why it is so important to overcome any hesitancy or fear you may have around root canals.

Want to learn more? Read What is Dental Phobia and Coping With Dental Phobia.

Below are a few facts that you should remember when considering a root canal:

  • A root canal doesn’t cause pain it relieves it – The perception of root canals being painful began decades ago but with modern technologies and anesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. In fact, a recent survey showed that patients who have experienced root canal treatment are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not had root canal treatment.
  • There is no evidence linking root canals and disease in the body – A root canal is a safe and effective procedure. When a severe infection in a tooth requires endodontic treatment, that treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth. The presence of bacteria in teeth and the mouth has been an accepted fact for many years.
  • Saving your natural teeth is the very best option – Nothing can completely replace your natural tooth. An artificial tooth can sometimes cause you to avoid certain foods. Keeping your own teeth is important so that you can continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary to maintain the proper nutrient balance in your diet. If your dentist recommends extraction, ask whether root canal treatment is an option.

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