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Root canals have a bad reputation but know that this procedure is not as scary as you may think it is. The only time you should worry is if you have delayed treating a root canal and your infection has gotten worse. Below we will explore what a root canal is and facts you should know to help you understand this procedure and ease any negative thoughts.
The American Association of Endodontist can reassure you that “Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with a root canal”. The anatomy of the tooth contains white enamel on the outside followed by a hard layer known as dentin and inside, a soft tissue called the pulp. The soft tissue houses vessels, connective tissue, nerves, and assists in creating harder tissue that surrounds the area during the developmental phase of a tooth. The pulp starts at the crown of the tooth and extends to the root where it connects to other tissue, this where the pulp can get an infection or become inflamed caused by deep decay, a cracked or chipped tooth, or lead to an abscess.
Treatment for a root canal is straightforward with a goal to relieve any pain and save the tooth. The purpose is to remove the inflamed and infected pulp, clean and disinfect the roots, and replacing of the pulp with a filling sealing the space for added protection. The procedure should feel no different to having a cavity filled with a local anesthetic on the surrounding area. The procedure itself should not be painful, although you may feel soreness or more sensitive around the treated area which can then be treated with over-the-counter medication or a prescription.
Unfortunately, root canals cannot be treated with antibiotics, which can be a misunderstanding when talking about infection. You may have heard that treating an infection with antibiotics will help treat your infection, however, in this case, it is very different from an infection elsewhere in the body. Antibiotics are effective when they reach the site of infection through the bloodstream, which is not possible for an infection that lives in the root of a tooth.
Caring for your tooth after this procedure is as important, having a root canal doesn’t protect your tooth from cavities and gum disease. With proper care, your treated tooth should stay healthy as long as the rest of your teeth. Schedule a consultation if you have been told that you may need a root canal, the sooner we walk the faster we get to saving that precious tooth and ease any discomfort you may be experiencing.