Visiting the dentist twice annually and brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis can help to keep your smile clean and healthy for a lifetime to come. But, even if you experience a severely decayed or injured tooth at some point, restorative dentistry services can come to the rescue. The root canal is a common procedure that can help to preserve the tooth to keep the smile complete. However, this treatment also has a bad (and false) reputation of being very painful — keep reading to learn the truth about root canals, and what you can expect when you need one.
When Is a Root Canal Necessary?
Your dentist may recommend a root canal when the interior of the tooth has been affected by tooth decay or damage. If a cavity is left untreated, it will gradually eat through the layers of the tooth — starting first with the enamel, then through the dentin and into the pulp. By this last stage, you can usually feel the infection in the form of a moderate to severe toothache. The tooth will abscess in the worst cases, something that can put your overall health at risk.
Some of the signs that you may need a root canal procedure include:
- A persistent toothache
- Sensitivity to heat, cold, air, or pressure
- Receding gums
- A darkening or graying of the tooth
- A pimple-like bump on the gums below the tooth
- A foul odor coming from the tooth
What Happens In a Root Canal?
Root canals are usually carried out over the course of one or sometimes two visits to the dentist. First, your dentist or endodontist will clean out the tooth and remove all of the damaged and infected tissue. The root canal(s) will then be reshaped and sanitized before a biocompatible material is inserted back inside. Then, a permanent filling or crown is placed on top of the tooth to renew its strength and beauty, either in the same appointment or in a follow-up visit. Many root canals are highly successful and can keep the tooth functioning properly in the gum line for years to come.
Sit Back and Relax
No one wants to have a root canal, but this procedure isn’t as bad as the reputation that precedes it. Your dentist will not begin the treatment until the treatment site is completely numb. An excellent restorative dentist will also offer comforting amenities and sedation dentistry to help you feel really comfortable. Thanks to modern procedures and technology, you can sit back and relax throughout the whole treatment – you may even take a nap!
Meet the Dentist
Dr. L. Blaine Kennington offers excellence in root canal therapy to help patients regain optimal oral health. He offers endodontic care for severely damaged or decayed teeth. To learn more about root canals or to schedule an appointment, do not hesitate to contact his office by calling 360-703-9092.