No procedure in dentistry is so wrought with confusion and misinformation as the root canal. Is it a painless dental procedure?
A part of your tooth?
An instrument of torture?
Surely, you’ve heard all of these, and then some, leaving many people wondering just what is a root canal? Chicago
wants to know – so here is your plain-English guide to root canals.
The anatomy of a tooth
There is more to a tooth than meets the eye. Like a tree, it is secured by roots, hidden beneath the surface. The roots are not solid – there is a hollow space inside, called a root canal. Normally, this canal is filled with healthy pulp – blood, nerves, and all sorts of soft tissue that you know is in your body, but you don’t want to think about. Usually, you don’t have to think about it, but when infection moves into this canal, it makes its presence known.
What makes a tooth ache?
Not every toothache is caused by the root canal (if you’ve ever had a broken tooth, you know this), but most of those pesky recurring ones are. Infection building in the canal creates pressure, and irritates nerves. The result is pain, sensitivity, and possibly abscesses
Stopping the pain
Once this infection starts, the only solution (besides extraction
) is to remove it with a root canal procedure, often just called a "root canal"
(or endodontic therapy if you want to be technical). Despite the tales of terror you may have heard, the process is not painful or risky. First, the area is numbed, so you won’t feel anything
. All the infection and damaged pulp are removed from the chamber, and then it is filled and sealed. Simple as that – the root canal is over, and the pain of your infected tooth is over. A crown
may be placed on the treated tooth, to protect it from future damage.
After a root canal procedure, will you be in agony for days on end?
NO! Most patients compare the procedure, and the after effects to having a cavity
filled – it’s that easy!
Now you know – fear of a root canal is not a reason to avoid visiting the dentist. In fact, the pain relief a root canal procedure is an excellent reason to call Big Smile Dental at 773-772-8400 today!