Redefining the Root Canal

What is a root canal? What happens during endodontic treatment? Is root canal treatment painful? In this blog post today we hope to discuss and work through myths about root canals.

Oral pain such as toothaches can be very difficult to pinpoint because of the vast nerves in the mouth. Pain can occur in the head, neck or ear which has often started by the pain of a damaged or diseased tooth. An endodontist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating this type of pain, they conduct procedures involving the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp.

Pulp damage can sometimes be caused by a blow to the mouth. For example, a blow to a child’s permanent tooth that is not development can cause the root to stop growing. An endodontist is also specially trained in procedures for replanting teeth that have been knocked out of their sockets.

What happens during treatment? First, a local anesthetic will be given. A sheet of latex called the “rubber dam” (we’ve got non-latex ones too) will be placed around the tooth to isolate it, to keep it clean during treatment. Treatment consists of 3-4 steps depending on the particular case. Most treatments are just a single visit but again depending on the case could be 2 or 3 visits.

There are, of course, no guarantees. Root canals have a very high degree of success up to 90%, many treatments last a lifetime. This type of treatment is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with a damaged pulp and is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant.

A major misconceptions revolving root canals is that the treatment is painful. This myth dates back before modern technology, todays treatment is no more painful than a filling. A recent survey showed that patients who have experienced root canals are 6 times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not had root canal treatment.

Millions of healthy endodontically treated teeth serve patients all over the world, years and years after treatment. Those healthy teeth are helping patients chew efficiently, maintain the natural appearance of their smiles and enhance their enjoyment of life.

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