Root canals have gotten a bad rap. Just the name of the treatment causes feelings of dread in some people. Although many people think of root canals as being very unpleasant, painful procedures, you might be surprised to learn they’re not as bad as you think. People often fear what they don’t understand so sometimes a little extra knowledge can help alleviate those fears, especially with East Hanover, NJ dental practice Metropolitan Center for Complete Dentistry.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal therapy, commonly referred to as simply a “root canal”, becomes necessary when the tissues inside your tooth – the pulp -become infected. This often happens as the result of deep decay (cavities) entering the tooth through a chip or crack in the surface of your tooth. Once inside, the infection can spread down through the pulp into the root canals of your teeth and into tissues of your gums creating an abscess. This very severe and painful infection can be dangerous to your overall health if not treated as soon as possible.
When Do I Need a Root Canal?
Signs that a root canal may be necessary are sensitivity of the tooth to hot and cold, or to touch or discomfort while chewing. Inflamed and sensitive gums around the tooth may also result. Informing your dentist of these and any other symptoms you may be having during exams will allow him or her to decide if a root canal is necessary and appropriate for your condition. Some dentists will perform root canals. Others will refer you to an endodontist. An endodontist is a dental specialist who specializes in treating the insides of your teeth.
The Root Canal Procedure
First, your dentist will thoroughly numb the area to be treated. Then, your dentist or endodontist drills down into the crown of your infected tooth and removes the infected pulp from inside the tooth. As adults, our teeth no longer require the pulp as it will continue to be nourished by the surrounding tissues.
Once the pulp has been removed, a biocompatible material will temporarily be placed in the now-empty space inside your tooth until restoration can begin. In some cases, where tooth decay has compromised one of the roots and made the tooth unstable, a tiny metal rod may need to be inserted down into the root to stabilize the tooth in your gums.
Restoration is the process whereby a crown will be created and placed over your compromised tooth. Your dentist or specialist will create the crown, matching it to the natural hue of your teeth, and will use it to seal up the tooth. Within several days, the swelling of the inflamed tissues will go down and the “new” tooth can be used to chew and clean just like your natural teeth.
Why The Bad Reputation?
Many people avoid root canals due to the belief that the procedure will be painful or because they may have heard “horror stories” of complications from the procedure. Root canals may have been painful decades ago when the procedure was first invented. However, with our modern dental technology and anesthetics, it is only about as painful as having a filling placed.
Comfortable Root Canal Treatment in East Hanover, NJ
So the big, bad root canal is actually not so scary. Instead it’s a helpful procedure designed to alleviate pain and save your natural teeth, allowing you to chew properly and smile confidently. As with most illnesses, it is preferable to remain healthy rather than need to recover. Brushing twice daily, flossing daily and scheduling regular exams with your Metropolitan dentist are all important steps you should take to avoid needing a root canal. But if you do require root canal therapy now you know there’s little to fear. To schedule a consultation at our East Hanover, NJ office today, call (973) 287-3153 or contact us online.