Root canals used to be horror story of dentistry. Those tales are overblown, and if they were ever true, that time is long past.
Today’s root canals are routine in almost all cases. They’re painless, almost always fairly quick, and restore your tooth to healthy functioning and appearance.
Who needs a root canal?
When infection gets into the inner chamber of the tooth, it attacks the dental pulp and the nerves. This usually causes pretty severe pain, and the pain only stops when the nerves are destroyed. Or, when your dentist opens the tooth and removes the infection. In a nutshell, that’s what a root canal is.
Left untreated, infection will cost you that tooth and very likely some of the underlying bone. Dental infections have also been linked to problems elsewhere in the body. Even if you can tolerate the pain, a possible dental infection is nothing to ignore.
Back in the early days of dentistry, the usual approach was to pull the infected tooth. The field of endodontic (“inside the tooth”) dentistry changed that by offering a way to save the tooth. Whenever it’s possible to save a natural tooth, that’s the best option. Your natural teeth are not only best, you can save a lot of money over having an artificial tooth implanted or a dental bridge crafted and placed.
So what actually happens?
First, Dr. Dine will confirm that a root canal is needed. This is done through an examination and digital X-rays. The next step is make sure the entire experience is painless, from administering the local anesthetic to closing the tooth and placing a crown to protect it.
At our practice we use DentalVibe. DentalVibe is a unique method of controlled vibrations that shut down pain impulses. About 98 percent of patients report that they don’t even feel the injection of local anesthetic.
We know that dental anxiety is very common. Some estimates put nearly half the U.S. population as suffering from some level of dental anxiety or fear. If you’re concerned about your root canal procedure, we offer nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.
When you inhale nitrous oxide – which has been used for decades and is very safe – you’ll feel relaxed, comfortable, and maybe even a little giddy. We’ll keep the flow of gas going through the entire procedure. When the gas is cut off, the effects wear off very quickly. You’ll be able to drive yourself home after your appointment.
Next, Dr. Dine will open the tooth and use special instruments to remove all of the infected pulp which includes the nerves. When the nerves are removed, there’s nothing left to report pain! The infection will be carefully killed and then the opening is filled with a special sterile material.
The last step in the root canal process is to place a crown over the tooth to protect it and restore your ability to chew normally. In emergency cases, this will likely be a temporary crown, but permanent crowns are very natural-looking.
That may sound very complicated, so let’s break it down:
- Confirm the need for a root canal
- Numb the area
- Administer nitrous oxide if needed or wanted
- Open the tooth
- Clean out the infected pulp and nerves
- Destroy the infection
- Seal the tooth
- Cover the tooth with a realistic-looking dental crown
Don’t Fear the Root Canal
With today’s advanced digital imaging, surprises during root canals are very uncommon. Dr. Dine will be able to plan and complete the root canal procedure in a minimum of time with a maximum of comfort for you. Once the procedure is complete, you may have a very slight soreness from the injection site, or not even that. Remember, the infected nerves that were screaming at you are gone. There’s nothing left in the tooth that can send pain signals to your brain.
If you’re experiencing dental pain, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. Teeth aren’t supposed to hurt, and pain is always a sign that something is wrong. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that you’ll lose a tooth that could have been saved quickly and comfortably.
Call our office today at 513‑823‑2575 or contact us through our online form. We make patients who are experiencing pain a priority. Once you’re in our office, we’ll take great care to make your root canal painless and as stress-free as possible. And you’ll be happy that you were able to ignore the bad rap that root canals get, and save your tooth.