Dental procedures are invasive and uncomfortable by nature—but when someone says “root canal” it sends the public into a panic. However, root canals aren’t as bad as they sound—the procedure is painless and very, very necessary to preserve your oral health.
In this blog, the Gaithersburg dentists at Clopper’s Mill Dental Care will break down the basics of root canals. Read on, and rest easy—it’s going to be okay.
What is a root canal?
Your teeth can take a beating over the years. All those sugars and acids from candy, coffee, spicy foods, beer, and basically any food or drink that brings you joy can wear down the enamel of your teeth and cause tooth decay. Once that tooth decay becomes serious enough, bacteria can permeate the enamel and make its way into the enamel of your tooth—and that’s when you’re at risk for infection. Throbbing and sharp pains, strange tastes in your mouth, and difficulty chewing can only mean one thing it’s time for you to get a root canal procedure.
To remove the infection, your dentist must remove the pulp of the tooth and replace it with a synthetic material to keep the tooth’s structural integrity intact. That’s a root canal. If this procedure is not performed, the infection could spread to other parts of the mouth and jaw, leading to more pain and discomfort, potential tooth loss, and damage and disintegration of the jaw. Nobody likes the sound of getting a root canal—but avoiding this procedure can lead to much more painful (and expensive) consequences.
Why do root canals have a bad reputation?
For some reason, root canal procedures have a terrible reputation amongst the general public. In fact, they’re usually at the butt of many a joke like “I’d rather see my favorite sports team get last place than get a root canal.” But it’s not the procedure that causes the pain—it’s the infection’s interaction with the nerves in the pulp of your tooth. Root canal procedures remove the nerves in the pulp of the tooth, which removes the sensation of pain from the tooth entirely. So no, root canal procedures are not painful.
What is a root canal procedure like?
Root canal procedures are easy and painless, and it only takes two trips to the dentist’s office for a root canal to be completed. When you show up for your first visit, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to the area of the tooth, numbing any pain that you otherwise would’ve experienced. Next, they’ll take a small drill or sharp tool to create a small opening at the top of the tooth, allowing them to dig inside the tooth and remove the contents of the pulp. The dentist will then flush the area to clean it thoroughly, and apply an antimicrobial solution to kill any remaining bacteria. Once the area dries out, your dentist will fill the empty chamber of the tooth will some sort of amalgam that will preserve the tooth’s structural integrity, and will place a temporary crown on the tooth. That’s the end of your first root canal session—easy and painless, right?
You’ll return to your dentist two or three weeks later, once the amalgam has solidified inside of your tooth. They’ll place a permanent crown on the tooth, and there she is—your brand new, infection-free tooth!
How do I care for my root canal tooth?
To avoid an infection from recurring, you might need to make an extra trip or two to your dentist’s office for x-rays. Otherwise, brush twice daily, floss, and practice other good oral hygiene habits to keep your teeth in pristine and healthy shape.
Why choose Clopper’s Mill Dental Care?
With decades of experience and friendly, caring dental professionals, you can trust that your root canal procedure will be nothing to worry. Schedule an appointment, and let us know if you have any more questions!