October 26, 2016
There’s a lot of myths and misinformation when it comes to root canal procedures. At Appalachian Dental Care in Boone, NC, we think it’s time to set the record straight.
Why You Might Need a Root Canal
Gum disease and dental decay are caused by the bacteria that live in all of our mouths. If those bacteria are left in close contact with your gums and tooth surfaces, they’ll eventually begin irritating your gums and eroding your tooth enamel. Regular brushing and flossing remove the plaque that keep those bacteria next to teeth and gums. That’s why dentists and dental hygienists keep telling everyone to brush and floss regularly.
If bacteria erode the tooth enamel, it creates a cavity. If that cavity extends through to the dental pulp, which contains nerve endings and blood vessels, you have an infected tooth.
Or, bacteria can get below the surface of your gums and attack the softer, exposed dentin layer of the tooth. Once the bacteria is through the dentin layer, you have an infected tooth.
And once a tooth is infected, you stand a pretty good chance of losing it unless you take action. Unfortunately, you can’t always tell that a tooth is infected until it’s too late to save it. Our digital x-rays can detect infection inside a tooth even if it doesn’t seem to be causing you any problems. That’s another good reason to have regular checkups.
But here are some things that suggest you might have an infected tooth:
- You have a severe toothache
- You have pain around a certain tooth
- You have pain in just one spot in your mouth when you chew
- One tooth is unusually sensitive to hot and/or cold foods and drinks
- A tooth has turned a strange color
- Your gums are tender and inflamed around one tooth
Enter the Root Canal
Once infection is firmly established in the tooth, you have two options: pull the tooth to keep the infection from spreading, or have a root canal procedure. Since most teeth can be saved, the root canal is the way to go.
In a root canal procedure, the tooth, the nerves, and the surrounding area are thoroughly numbed. Then, Dr. Airey will open a small hole in the top of your tooth. That allows him to carefully extract the infected pulp together with the nerves. And once those nerves are removed, there’s nothing left to send pain signals!
The tooth may receive some medicated material to make sure that every trace of infection will be removed, but the interior will be filled with an inert material. Then, the tooth is sealed by using a dental crown. Our CEREC same-day crowns are specially created to match your existing teeth and will offer many years of good looks and restored function.
And that, in a nutshell, is a root canal procedure. You get numb, the tooth gets opened, the infected pulp and nerves are removed, the source of your pain goes away, the tooth gets treated, and you get a new dental crown. Your “net pain” is no worse than having a cavity filled.
So, there’s no reason to fear the root canal and every reason to contact our Boone, NC office if you have reason to believe that you might have an infected tooth. The sooner your receive professional assistance, the better we can help you keep a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile. Dental pain is always a sign that something is wrong. Toughing it out is the worst thing your can do for your health and your smile.