Root canal procedures have developed a reputation for being scary and painful treatments! We’re taking a look into what a root canal is, and busting the myths around pain and risk for this dental procedure.
What is a root canal?
A root canal procedure got its name from parts of the process where the canals within the tooth’s root are cleaned out. A root canal procedure is required when a tooth is badly infected or damaged, but can be saved.
The Dentist will remove any damaged areas and clean out the pulp within the tooth, disinfect the area to avoid infection then fill and seal the tooth. Common reasons why an individual would need a root canal include deep cavities, cracks within the tooth, trauma to the tooth (sometimes caused by repeated dental treatment) and serious infection. If a tooth infection is left untreated, this can cause the infection to spread into the tooth pulp which can damage the bone around the tooth, leaving it permanently damaged.
Is a root canal procedure painful?
Modern Dentistry has come a long way. In the past, like many other dental procedures, a root canal was a painful process. This was due to a lack of pain relief and less availability of modern surgical dental tools.
Nowadays, a root canal procedure is just as easy as having an everyday filling. In fact, the reputation of pain surrounding a root canal is usually in the lead up. Before having the procedure an infected tooth can cause pain and discomfort, and a root canal procedure will alleviate this.
Dentists use anaesthetic and modern surgical tools to ensure you are comfortable throughout the procedure, and you shouldn’t feel anything more than a bit of pressure, similar to a filling.
Is a root canal procedure risky?
Like all medical procedures, there are some risks involved with having a root canal, but
nothing more serious than any other dental procedure.
The process of having a root canal procedure is as follows:
• The Dentist will do an initial examination of the tooth including an X-Ray, you will then be administered local anaesthetic to the area.
• A small, thin sheet of rubber is placed over the area to isolate the tooth and avoid saliva build-up during the procedure
• An opening is created either through the back of your tooth (if it’s a front tooth) or through the crown (if it’s a molar or pre-molar)
• The dentist then uses surgical tools to remove any diseased pulp from inside the tooth. This is often referred to as a pulpectomy
• The root canals within the tooth as well as pulp chamber are completely cleaned and disinfected
• The Dentist will fill the opening and area then use dental materials to re-shape the
tooth back to it’s normal size and original shape. The Dentist can also use a crown to
place over the tooth as a final step.
In some instances you may need more than one visit for a root canal treatment. This may
occur if not all of the infected pulp could be reached in one sitting.
Thanks to modern dentistry root canal procedures are no longer painful, and are come with
similar associated minimal risks that are part of most dental procedures.