If you think that a root canal seems like an intimidating dental treatment, you are not alone. Even if you have never experienced a root canal, the procedure has gotten a bad rap in the past. Yet, we must ask ourselves, what is a root canal and what does it entail? Knowing the answers to these questions and more may help put your mind at ease, should you ever need one.
Root canal therapy is similar in some ways to having a deep cavity filled. The difference is when the dentist fills a regular cavity, decay is first removed and the tooth is then cleaned. After that, the dentist places a filling. These steps are also taken during a root canal. Yet, since the nerve of the tooth is also infected, Dr. Sibia will also remove it as well.
Decay-causing mouth bacteria are what lead to dental cavities. These bacteria feed on the remnants of sugary carbs and other foods that are not washed away from our teeth. In fact, they thrive on them. The problem with these bacteria is that they don’t just sit on our teeth waiting for their next meal. They eat away at the tooth enamel, drilling a hole into the tooth over time. The initial damage often goes unnoticed. If left for too long, the damage grows as the bacteria dig deeper during their feeding frenzy.
With a deep cavity, bacteria can sometimes reach the pulp of your tooth located in the center. The pulp is the part of the tooth that contains the tooth’s nerves. An infected pulp can mean:
When a cavity reaches this point, a basic filling will no longer suffice. There are few choices left. You could have the tooth extracted or you may be able to save the tooth with root canal therapy.
The nerves of your body are your pain and temperature signals. They tell you if you have touched something hot or cold. A damaged nerve is often what causes cavity tooth pain and temperature sensitivity. Pain is your body’s signal that something is wrong.
Once Dr. Sibia removes the decay and cleans the tooth, there is still the problem of the infected dental pulp. Without a root canal, you would still experience pain and temperature sensitivity. This is because the tooth nerve is still infected or damaged. This is the problem that a root canal solves.
By removing the tooth nerve, Dr. Sibia removes what is causing you pain. This is what saves your tooth. Without a root canal, the only other alternative for this type of cavity is extraction of the tooth.
Not every dentist is trained to perform a root canal. A root canal is an endodontic procedure. Only an endodontist, or a dentist who has been trained in endodontic therapy, can perform root canal treatment.
The dentist will numb the area to ensure your comfort before removing the decay. After the removal of decay, the dentist will cleanse the area and remove the dental pulp. Once this is completed, the tooth needs to be restored. Dr. Sibia will then fill the cavity. A dental crown, sometimes called a cap, often helps strengthen the tooth. So, the dentist will also need to take an impression of your tooth. This will be used by the lab to create a properly fitting crown. In some cases, the dentist will fit a temporary crown on your tooth while you wait for the permanent crown.
Root canal patients often report no more pain with a root canal than when receiving a filling. The dentist numbs the area well before beginning the treatment. The most painful part of the procedure is actually the tooth itself before any work is performed. A root canal will relieve this pain. You may have some temporary discomfort during the first couple of days after a root canal. If you do, over-the-counter pain relievers are often enough. Dr. Sibia will tell you on aftercare instructions as well because your comfort is important to us at Ace Dental Roseville.
If you think you may need a root canal, don’t delay. Call Ace Dental in Roseville today at (916) 772-0111 to schedule an exam. Our courteous staff is here to help you with all your dental needs.