Do I REALLY Need a Root Canal?

According to pop culture the phrase “You need a root canal” is one of the most dreaded in a dental office. This post will show that fear is unfounded. In fact, the treatment can quickly alleviate pain and remove infection from the body that could otherwise make a person quite sick, beyond the pain of a toothache.

What is a Root Canal?

When you hear “root canal” the dentist is referring to something called root canal therapy or endodontics. The procedure can be performed by a general dentist, or a specialist called an endodontist. Most of the time the procedure will last about an hour. Root canal therapy is the removal of the vital tissue that resides inside the tooth. This tissue (when you need a root canal) is damaged and can cause infection and pain.

After the removal of the tissue the dentist will place a sealer inside the root canal space.  This will seal the tooth and bring it back to health. At the end the dentist will place a filling to cover the access hole made. Depending on the location of the tooth and the severity of the decay it may also be necessary to prepare the tooth for a crown. Root canal therapy has a success rate between 86%-95%.

What causes the need for Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy is most often indicated due to decay or a large cavity. As the cavity progresses and grows, it moves closer to the vital tissue of the tooth. This tissue is called the pulp. Once it has reached the pulp the tissue is damaged and will become infected. Another cause for root canal therapy is trauma. This trauma can include a fall, a car accident, or a blow to the face or mouth. Teeth can also break and expose the tissue.  Once the tissue is exposed it will need a root canal treatment.

Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?

There is the stigma that root canal therapy is one of the most painful procedures to have at a dental office.  This is false.  Like any dental procedure, once the dentist has administered the anesthesia and you are profoundly numb there should be no pain. Often patients will feel much better after the anesthetic has taken place.

What is truly painful are the causes leading up to the need for root canal therapy. The cavity can be painful and the infection or abscess can also be painful. The root canal therapy will alleviate this pain and put you back on the path to healing. Where you may not have been able to eat properly or concentrate or sleep well, you will now have no pain and life will be much better.

I have included a brief animation of a root canal therapy.

If you have any questions please call:  702-798-7724

Your Dentist, Your Friend

Dr. David Ross