Although there’s no reason to, many people fear a visit to the dentist at the thought of having to face tooth decay or cavities. Unfortunately, these fears often spiral into dread at the mention of the words ‘root canal’.
Over the years the term has been associated with what people deem to be a painful, invasive procedure when it is one of the most simple and straightforward dental procedures. This procedure treats previously damaged teeth and is the easiest way to restore your beautiful smile, what could be so terrible about that?
Today we are going to break down a root canal, explaining to you 3 reasons why you really shouldn’t fear them. After this, we promise you won’t be psyching yourself out any longer because you’ll realise that root canals really aren’t that scary!
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that is used to repair the damage that has occurred on the inside of a tooth. Many things can lead to the tooth becoming damaged, including:
- Repeated dental work
- Infection or damage caused by decay
- Wear and tear
- Gum disease
- Cracked fillings
- Trauma that has affected a tooth
The procedure involves drilling in the centre of the tooth and removing the soft centre, known as dental pulp. This centre is made up of various materials including nerves, connective tissue and blood supply and it extends into the roof of your mouth. Once the centre is removed it is then filled back up so that it isn’t left empty and is sealed.
When Do I Need a Root Canal?
When the dental pulp becomes damaged, bacteria can begin to grow inside your tooth which can lead to infection or an abscess. You might be thinking that if your tooth is in that poor of condition why not remove it completely and get an artificial one?
The reason being is that trying to save your real tooth is always the priority as it will perform better for biting and chewing in comparison to an artificial one. Replacing a tooth is also a more complicated dental procedure with a longer recovery time than a root canal as well.
Some common signs that you may need to have a root canal are:
- Severe pain in your tooth when biting or chewing
- Darkening of a tooth’s colouring
- Temperature sensitivity that lasts even once the temperature has been removed
- Swollen or tender gums
- Pus around an infected tooth
- Swelling of the face or neck
- A loose tooth
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Root Canals
1. A Root Canal Procedure Is Simple
Root canals are a very simple, straightforward procedure that you don’t have to worry about. The whole procedure is completed under a local anaesthetic which means that the entire area is numb so that you won’t feel a thing. If you wish, at Mermaid Smiles we have other methods of sleep dentistry available.
This includes Nitrous Oxide (happy gas) or twilight sedation that puts you into a light sleep throughout the procedure. These options are perfect for those having trouble calming their fears to take the nerves away. There’s no right or wrong candidate for sleep dentistry, so if you’re interested speak with one of our team members today.
2. Root Canals Are As Simple As Having a Filling
The main reason everyone fears root canals is that they’ve built up this reputation for being an extremely painful procedure when they aren’t. Dentistry has come a long way in recent years and with the use of local anaesthetic, the only thing you’ll feel is a slight prick as that is injected and then nothing.
Once sensation begins coming back following the procedure you may want to take normal painkillers just to help in the case of any minor discomfort but other than that you’ll be back to your normal routine the very next day.
3. Your Tooth Will Be Saved
Saving your existing tooth with a root canal is a way simpler and more cost-effective option than having to extract the tooth and replace it if it can be helped. Once the root canal is completed your tooth will go back to normal and you won’t even be able to tell that it’s had a procedure completed on it.
There are negative connotations with root canals because in the early days of this procedure they didn’t always work. Nowadays, root canals have a 90% – 95% success rate of having a functional tooth upon completion of the treatment.
So, does a root canal still seem terrifying? We know it doesn’t! For more information about root canals or to book your general check-up, contact our team today.