When speaking of a root canal it almost seems as if patients think they were developed just to torture them! However, modern-day root canals aren’t any more painful than a simple dental filling. Root canals were developed to save your natural tooth structure rather than to extract a tooth that has not undergone any dramatic physical damage (in most cases).
Why a Root Canal?
Dentists do all they can today to save as much natural tooth structure as possible should you have decay or other dental damage. Retaining your natural teeth for as long as possible is not only easier, less invasive, and therefore, less costly, but it is better for your jawbone and overall oral health. When the pulp of your tooth, which is the living tissue, blood vessels, and nerves housed in the very center of your tooth, becomes compromised or infected, but the rest of the tooth is in fairly good condition and can be saved, then a root canal is the treatment of choice.
What the Procedure Entails
A root canal has a few more steps than a dental filling, but is basically the same. The steps include:
- Drilling a small hole to access the pulp of your tooth.
- Next, the infected pulp is removed and the inner tooth is cleaned and disinfected.
- The now empty pulp chamber is then filled with a rubber-like, biocompatible material called gutta percha.
- The small access hole is filled, and the procedure is complete.
- If the tooth is too weak or damaged, your dentist will place a crown over it for strength, stability, and extra protection.