“Root canal.” These two words are enough to get the muscles tense and the heart racing. Most people are pretty sure that this procedure was just created as some sort of a form of torture. However, it turns out that root canals can be vital for not only maintaining good oral health but also to help make teeth strong and healthy enough for cosmetic dentistry – and maybe they aren’t as bad as their reputation says they are.
What exactly is a root canal?
When a tooth has a cavity that hasn’t been filled or has a crack or a chip, this allows bacteria to get deep within the pulp of the tooth to cause an infection. The “pulp” is the tissue within the teeth that is made up of connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels.
Your tooth might look all right on the outside (or it might not), but if you have pain when chewing, swollen gums, or a sudden sensitivity to hot or cold, these may be signs that the pulp within the tooth is damaged and that you need a root canal.
What is the procedure for a root canal?
A quick description of the procedure is that your gums will be numbed and the infected pulp will be cleaned out of the tooth. Your tooth will be coated with an antibiotic and then covered with a crown.
Will it hurt?
Although after the procedure your mouth and gums will feel a bit tender and sore, most patients report that a root canal hurts about as much as having a tooth filled. In one study, less than 20% of respondents said that a root canal was the most painful dental procedure they had ever had.
It isn’t exactly clear how root canals gained such a bad reputation – but it is an important procedure, for the health of your teeth and to prevent pain and discomfort in the future. Dr. Konig and the staff at the Konig Center for Cosmetic and Comprehensive Dentistry in Houston, Texas, want you to have excellent oral health (with minimal pain involved!). Call for a consultation at (713) 668-2289 today to see how they can help!