Root canals have a bad reputation. Most people fill up with dread when they hear the word, but a root canal is actually not that painful of a procedure. In fact, the intense pain that many people associate with root canals is actually caused by the infected tooth root that necessitates the procedure. When the team of gentle dentists at Driggers & Baker Family Dentistry in West Columbia, Texas, fix your infected tooth with a root canal, you’ll actually find a great deal of relief from the pain. Get on the path of recovery today, and schedule an appointment with the talented team of doctors at Driggers & Baker Family Dentistry by calling the office or booking online.
Root Canal Q & A
What is a root canal?
“Root canal” actually refers to two things: the tiny tunnel in the center of your tooth that contains your tooth’s “pulp,” and the procedure that’s done to treat your tooth when the pulp gets infected.
Your pulp is composed of nerves and blood vessels that get inflamed when infected. This inflammation pinches the nerves inside the tooth, which can cause debilitating pain.
A root canal procedure allows your dentist to salvage and repair your tooth while also preventing the infection from spreading into your jaw and surrounding teeth.
How do I know that I need a root canal?
Your inner tooth gets infected when exposed to serious decay or damage. The infected pulp causes a tremendous amount of pain, which is the most common symptom, but there are other signs that you might need a root canal, such as:
Pimple-like bumps on your gums around the tooth
Increased sensitivity to hot and cold
Your tooth turns a darker color
Inflamed or irritated gums or swelling around the tooth
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with Driggers & Baker Family Dentistry immediately. The longer you wait, the more painful it will become, not to mention you increase the likelihood of the infection spreading to your jaw and surrounding teeth.
Do I really need a root canal?
If you have an infected tooth root, then yes. Leaving an infected tooth root untreated can lead to some very serious health conditions, such as:
Bone deterioration in your jaw
Abscessed teeth, or the formation of pus-filled pockets in your tooth’s root
The formation of a hole in the side of your tooth that dumps bacteria into your cheek and gums
Bacterial infection of your blood, or sepsis
Heart attack and stroke
The root canal procedure is not nearly as bad as the movies have made it out to be, and the consequences of leaving the infected tooth root to continue decaying can be dire.
How do I get a root canal?
The team of skilled and gentle dentists at Driggers & Baker Family Dentistry believe in doing anything possible to make their patients feel more at ease during their dental procedures. That means answering any questions you might have about your procedure, and also offering a number of different sedation options to help calm your nerves while they operate.
When you come in for your root canal, your dentist will take an X-ray of your tooth in order to assess the extent of the damage and infection. This X-ray will also serve as a roadmap for the procedure.
Next, they administer a local anesthetic to completely numb the tooth and its surrounding tissues so that you won’t feel anything during the procedure. Then they put a small sheet of rubber (called a dental dam) in your mouth in order to isolate the tooth and treat it in a sterile environment.
Once your mouth is prepped, they delicately drill a tiny hole in the top of your tooth, through which they remove the infected pulp inside. Since that pulp is dead or decayed, you won’t feel any pain when it’s removed.
After your dentist has extracted all of the diseased pulp, they carefully and thoroughly clean your canal with an antiseptic and antibacterial solution, seal the chamber with a rubbery compound called gutta-percha, and seal the hole with a filling. Finally, they fit your tooth with a permanent crown to prevent further infections and restore its strength and functionality.
The whole process takes between 30 and 90 minutes, and the gentle staff and caring dentists are so skilled at the procedure that many patients actually fall asleep while they’re repairing the tooth.
If you suspect that you need a root canal, don’t hesitate to get it done. Schedule an appointment today with Driggers & Baker Family Dentistry by calling the office or using the convenient online booking tool.