What are they?
If you get a bad tooth infection, chances are you’re going to probably need a root canal. But, what exactly is it?
A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed, and the inside of your tooth is cleaned and then sealed.
Some people think that they can just take an antibiotic to avoid a root canal, but unfortunately– that doesn’t work. The reason is that antibiotics can’t reach the infected tissue inside of your tooth. The only way to get rid of it is to remove it or the infection will continue to spread.
Once we remove it, we’ll fill the space that it occupied with a sealer to help keep bacteria out of your tooth in the future.
What is the pulp?
The pulp is the soft tissue inside of your tooth that contains your tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. If your pulp gets injured, or if decay gets into the pulp, it can’t repair itself and it will die. Once it has died, bacteria will build up and cause an infection inside of your tooth.
If this infection goes untreated, it will accumulate pressure and form an abscess. An abscess ultimately damages and destroys the bones around your tooth and leads to tooth loss.
Do they hurt?
Some people are extremely scared of root canals. We have even heard of people who elect instead to have their tooth extracted! We highly recommend you avoid doing this. It’s a big mistake for a couple of reasons. First of all, an extraction is the most traumatic type of dental appointment there is. Plus, if possible, it’s almost always better to
Additionally, modern techniques for root canal treatments make them pretty easy on the patient. In some cases, the tissue inside of your tooth is already dead and you wouldn’t feel it even without Novocain. However, we still use Novocain to ensure you’re always completely numb and pain-free.
After your tooth has had a root canal treatment, it usually means that a portion of your tooth is missing, weakened, and/or at risk of fracture. We usually recommend that a tooth like this have a dental crown placed because a fracture can make the tooth unrestorable and you can end up losing it. The crown is a separate procedure, with a separate fee.
Make an Appointment
If you think you’re in need of a root canal, or you just need a check-up or cleaning,
If you prefer, you may click to request an appointment online. The American Dental Association recommends you have a dental check-up twice a year, so if it’s been over six months since your last appointment– you’re due!
Dr. Randall Burba is an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry accredited dentist, with a practice in Salem, Massachusetts. He considers himself an artist–with teeth and beyond! He often paints, draws and has a passion for woodworking.