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I’m Nervous About Having a Root Canal

I’m Nervous About Having a Root Canal

Few things instill more fear in people than the two words “root canal.” However, they don’t have to. Instead, people often leave these appointments feeling better than they did when they arrived.

When a tooth becomes decayed, damaged, or infected, a root canal may be necessary to save your tooth. All these dental problems can trigger a wide range of discomfort, including tooth sensitivity and mild or severe pain. A root canal eliminates these symptoms during an office visit.

Our team at Family Dental Care in West Palm Beach, Florida, wants patients to feel comfortable and unafraid about root canal treatment. Dental care should never arouse fear because it’s essential to keeping your oral health in tip-top condition. 

Here’s how root canal therapy can save a severely damaged tooth and why there's no need to fret about this common procedure.

Why you need a root canal

Did you know you have over 6 billion bacteria in your mouth? Some are health-promoting, but others can cause tooth damage. Tooth decay occurs when mouth bacteria make acids that can damage the surface of your tooth. 

When the enamel on your tooth gets damaged, it can lead to a small hole called a cavity, and bacteria can reach the inside of your tooth. Without prompt treatment, an infection can develop and progress inside the tooth, and the cavity can grow even larger. 

Ignoring this problem can lead to significant tooth decay and result in tooth loss. Worse yet, a tooth infection can even spread to the face, neck, and other parts of the body, putting you at risk of serious and life-threatening consequences.

Fortunately, a root canal can remove bacteria from an infected tooth, reduce your chances of reinfection, and save your natural tooth.

What to expect when you have a root canal

Dental professionals perform millions of root canal treatments and save many happy smiles each year. Not only does this procedure save your natural tooth, but it also alleviates pain associated with a dental infection. The best part? You don’t have to worry about having root canal therapy – you won't feel a thing. 

Modern root canal treatments are nothing like those of the past. Today, the entire process is relatively painless because of numbing agents and local anesthetics, and they’re very effective at saving teeth. In most cases, we perform routine root canal treatments in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth. 

After numbing the treatment site, we clean your teeth and gums, assess the health of your jawbone, and evaluate the extent of the damage to the affected tooth. 

Next, we make a small opening in your tooth so we can remove the infected pulp. This is the soft, dense tissue inside your tooth containing nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. An adult tooth can survive without the pulp.

We use special dental tools to carefully remove the infected pulp and clean the inner canals of the tooth. We also treat the area with antibiotic cream to remove any remaining infection and prevent reinfection from occurring. 

Finally, we fill the tooth with biocompatible material and seal the opening we made. 

What to expect after your appointment

There’s no downtime required after root canal treatment. Instead, you can resume normal daily activities the moment you leave the dental chair. 

However, you may have some swelling, tenderness, and minor bleeding of the gums after root canal therapy. This fades quickly, and you can usually manage the temporary discomfort with over-the-counter or prescription pain medication. 

Once your permanent filling or crown gets placed over the tooth, you can expect your dental restoration to last for many years to come.

Protecting your teeth from decay

The best way to avoid root canals in the future involves good dental hygiene and preventive care, including routine visits for check-ups. We recommend scheduling visits twice each year to give us a chance to spot potential issues before they become larger problems. In most cases, you can treat small cavities before they grow large enough to require root canal treatment.

You can rest easy knowing you’re in compassionate, capable hands at Family Dental Care. For check-ups and all other dental services, give us a call at 561-229-0752 or schedule an appointment online today. 

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