Preserve your natural teeth. Root canals are really not as terrifying as you may have heard. If you were recently informed that you need a root canal, chances are the minute you left your dental office, you immediately began scouring the internet for information on this well known but highly misunderstood dental service.
The internet can be a great place to gather helpful information, but it is also plagued by unreliable sources and dangerously inaccurate information. The following are the common myths and misinformation about root canals and tooth pain that are prevalent online. While finding out you are in need of a root canal can be frightening, the more you know about this tooth saving procedure and what it can do for your tooth ache and oral health, the calmer and more confident you will feel when you return to the dentist's chair.
1. What is a root canal? The central chamber of a tooth contains the living vital tissues comprising the pulp including its nerves and blood vessels. The interior of the tooth's roots containing the pulp make up its root canals.
2. How do I know if a tooth has a root canal infection? Symptoms of root canal infection may include sharp, intense pain when you bite down, a dull ache or pressure, or tenderness and swelling in gums near an infected tooth. There may be a lingering pain after eating cold or hot foods. However, sometimes an infected tooth may stop hurting and you no longer feel pain. This doesn't mean the infection has gone, only that the nerve may have died. Make an appointment if you suspect that you have any or some of these symptoms.
3. Why would a tooth need root canal treatment? If the tissues in the root canals become infected or inflamed because of deep cavity or trauma to a tooth, root canal treatment is needed to treat the infection and save the tooth. If left untreated, root canal infection can spread into the bone immediately around the root.
4. I'm worried about X -rays, should I be? No. While X -rays will be necessary during your root canal treatment, we use an advanced non- firm computerized system called digital radiography that produces radiation levels up to 90% lower than those of already low dose conventional dental X- ray machinery.
5. What takes place in a root canal procedure? After a local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth and surrounding area, a small opening is made in the biting surface of the tooth. Dead and or dying tissue is removed from the pulp chamber and the root canals are cleaned, disinfected and sealed to prevent future infection.
6. What can I expect afterwards? Your tooth may feel tender or sensitive for a few days. You can take over- the- counter non -steroidal anti -inflammatory medication, Aspirin or Ibuprofen, for example, to relieve pain or discomfort. Contact us if you have pain that lasts more than a few days. A crown is usually needed to protect the tooth following root canal treatment. Further, arrangements need to be made for the stage of the procedure. Don't chew on the affected tooth until symptoms subside and the tooth has been restored as necessary.
7. Would extraction be a better alternative? Saving your natural teeth, if possible, is the very best option. Nothing can completely replace your natural tooth. An artificial tooth can sometimes cause you to avoid certain foods, keeping your own teeth is important so that you can continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary to maintain the proper nutrient balance in your diet. If your dentist recommends extraction, ask whether root canal treatment is an option.
Root canal treatment along with appropriate restoration is a cost effective way to treat teeth with a damaged pulp and is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant. Root canal treatment also has a very high success rate. Many root canal treated teeth last a lifetime. Placement of a bridge or an implant will require significantly more time in treatment and may result in further procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.
Dr. Krinita Motwani Khar west, Mumbai.