Can you think of something you’d happily forgo in favor of a root canal appointment? The adage “I’d rather have a root canal” remains so effective because of the unpleasant, downright dreaded, connotations of this endodontic procedure. If you’d rather have a root canal, that other option must be seriously unpleasant.
While the “I’d rather have a root canal” saying will likely live on-- much to the dismay of modern dentists and endodontists – it’s fortunate for patients that the root canal isn’t all that terrible an experience. In reality, a root canal is probably pretty preferable to most of the unpleasant and inconvenient matters we all have to deal with from time to time. Go to the DMV? Be stuck in line at the post office? Lose an hour of sleep? Get a flat tire? Turns out a root canal can actually be less harsh than a lot of everyday things.
That’s because the modern root canal is a painless and efficient procedure—nothing like the torturous experience that plagues childhood memories, dental phobic nightmares, and common misconceptions. The most common cause of pain that’s related to the root canal is actually the infection which prompts the need for an endodontic procedure. So if you’re delaying a root canal due to pain, you’re actually hurting yourself more by not addressing the problem before it gets worse.
Rest assured that root canals can be performed painlessly under a minimal amount of local anesthesia. The process is no more invasive than filling a cavity. Once the infection has been identified with an x-ray and the anesthesia has taken effect, a small hole is drilled in the tooth. This entry point allows the tooth pulp, bacteria, and any infected tissue to be cleared from the root of the tooth. The hollow part of the tooth is completely flushed out and cleaned of all infection, decay and residue. Either during the same appointment or after a brief healing time-- during which medication may be used to ensure the tooth is infection-free-- the tooth is permanently sealed. The root canal procedure is then complete. It’s that straightforward.
Depending upon the need for restoration, the tooth may be protected with an inlay, onlay or full crown—all of which will not only preserve the tooth’s structure, but also make your smile look complete and beautiful.
The terrible reputation of root canals versus the reality is an interesting contradiction to consider. You may wonder why the root canal retains so many dreadful notions. A combination of primitive dental tools and methods throughout history, along with stories of recent day procedures performed without proper knowledge or equipment, likely account for many of the horror stories you’ve heard. You can take assurance that these situations are rare and can be avoided when you rely on accredited and trusted dentists and endodontists. When a root canal is performed by a qualified professional, with modern dental capabilities, there’s virtually nothing to fear or dread. If you are experiencing tooth pain, don’t hesitate to call our office.
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