We have all heard about root canals. The mere thought sparks a plethora of unpleasant emotions. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions surrounding this innovative tooth-saving procedure. Too many individuals associate root canal treatment with horror stories filled with pain and misery. But, how much do you really know about this common endodontic procedure? Is all the negative press truth or fiction?
What Is a Root Canal?
Root canal therapy is an endodontic treatment that involves removing the inner pulp and nerve of a severely infected tooth. Once the procedure is complete, the tooth is cleaned up, packed with filling material and sealed to prevent further infection. Without treatment, the infection can worsen and spread causing much bigger problems. Therefore, although a root canal may seem awful, it is a piece of cake compared to the alternative.
What Causes a Root Canal?
Multiple factors can lead to a pulp infection. Common reasons include a severe decay, dental trauma, large tooth fillings, recent dental procedures, chips or cracks in teeth. If serious decay or a pulp infection are causing tooth pain, a root canal may be the best option to save your tooth and restore oral health.
Signs You Need a Root Canal
Not every a toothache or all mouth pain requires a root canal for relief. But be aware of specific signs of a severe tooth infection, such as:
- A pimple-like swelling on the gums near the affected area
- Darkening of the tooth
- Serious tooth pain when eating or when you put pressure on the affected area
- Teeth pain and lingering sensitivity to hot or cold
- Tenderness or swelling in the gums near the affected area
How Painful is a Root Canal?
This is what most people fear most, the amount of pain involved with root canal treatment. Root canals have a bad reputation which is not well deserved. Truth be told, most patients report little to no pain at all. There is no more discomfort with a root canal procedure than there is having a cavity filled.