The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) estimates that nearly 15 million root canals are performed in the United States every year. Typically, a root canal procedure is required when penetrating bacteria interrupt the blood supply to the root of a tooth, causing inflammation, infection, and sometimes pain. Most often, moderate to severe pain occurs when tooth decay exposes the nerve that runs through the center of the tooth to contamination.
Even though a root canal is a common procedure in dental offices across the nation, many people have a number of misconceptions about the issue, the process, and the results that keep them from seeking appropriate diagnoses and care for tooth pain originating from a damaged or infected root.
This article will provide in-depth information to help you sort the facts from the misconceptions about root canal therapy so you can feel confident you are getting the proper treatment for your tooth.
A root canal is a common dental procedure that removes damage to the roots of a tooth while preserving the exterior structure of the natural tooth. During the procedure diseased tissue is removed, and the tooth is carefully sealed to prevent any new bacteria from entering it.
When performed by endodontic experts, a root canal is a smart, long-lasting therapy that helps patients retain their natural teeth. However, there is a great deal of misinformation about root canals and root canal therapy that often keeps patients from getting the right treatments that can help save a severely damaged or infected tooth.
Some of the most common misconceptions include:
Before the advent of modern dentistry with its reliance upon cutting-edge anesthetics and other technological tools, root canal therapy may indeed have been an uncomfortable proposition. Today, however, having a root canal performed is no more painful than the process of having a filling placed. Endodontists have been expertly trained in pain management to ensure that the root canal procedure is conducted with zero to minimal pain.
In fact, patients often experience a great deal of pain relief after a root canal procedure since the endodontist has removed the damaged tissue from the root that is responsible for inflammation and sensitivity.
Tooth extraction is never a better option than saving your natural teeth since no prosthetics can perfectly mimic the look and function of your biological teeth. Expert endodontic root canal treatments have a very high rate of success, with many teeth treated with root canals lasting a lifetime. Additionally, preserving your natural teeth helps keep your bite profile and the bone structure of your jaw healthy.
Many patients seem to believe that root canal therapy is simply a temporary fix and that the tooth will require increasingly invasive dental treatments down the line. As stated earlier, endodontic treatment of teeth through root canal therapy typically provides long-lasting results — even as long as a lifetime.
What is critically important is to ensure that the final restoration to the tooth — the crown — is well made and well-fitting and that good oral hygiene is practiced, ensuring the preserved tooth is cared for properly after the procedure.
Interestingly, not all patients that experience infection in the root of a tooth have pain. Pain preceding a root canal is typically caused by infection in the dental pulp chamber — the area that contains connective tissue, blood vessels, and your tooth’s nerve. In some cases, the nerve of the tooth dies, so you no longer feel pain associated with the infection. However, the infection and inflammation are still present and, left untreated, can lead to not only the loss of the tooth but also dangerous complications such as:
Cellulitis — an infection that targets the skin and the fat directly beneath it
Osteomyelitis — an infection of the areas of bone near your tooth
Cavernous sinus thrombosis — an infection of the blood vessels in your sinus cavity
Pharyngeal abscess — an abscess that occurs at the back of the mouth
Finally, uncontrolled tooth infection can lead to sepsis — a potentially fatal medical condition caused by your immune system overreacting to an infection in your bloodstream.
As you can see, lack of pain does not mean that your tooth is healthy. An endodontist can properly assess your tooth using leading-edge diagnostic tools and determine whether a root canal procedure can help save your natural tooth and reduce your susceptibility to the above conditions.
Considering Root Canal Therapy? Choose Renovo Endodontics for Expert Care
At Renovo Endodontics, we understand the concerns that our patients have when determining a proper course of treatment for their teeth — particularly one that is causing them pain or has been determined to have an issue involving the root structure.
Our team of endodontic experts is well-versed in leading-edge technologies and techniques that will ensure your root canal procedure is a comfortable experience that results in a long-lasting restoration of your natural tooth. To provide the highest standard of care, we offer second opinions and alternative treatment plans wherever possible to provide you with options and to ensure your questions are answered completely.