Everyone has probably heard a horror story or two about a painful root canal, which then causes anxiety for patients who discover they need the tooth-saving procedure. But root canals are nothing to fear. They’re not overly painful or difficult to recover from.
At Family Dental Care in West Palm Beach, Florida, we’re committed to saving teeth from infection or decay. Led by Michael C. Westcott, DDS, and Sujay Trivedi, DMD, our team offers root canals to alleviate pain and help you keep a tooth you might otherwise lose.
Here’s what you need to know about root canals and why there’s no reason to fear the procedure.
What is a root canal?
A root canal and pulp chamber is a hollow space with soft tissues, nerves, and blood vessels inside your teeth. Deeply decayed teeth can infect the dental pulp and cause severe pain. Left untreated, the tooth will continue to decay and can eventually fall out.
What to expect if you need a root canal
When you visit Family Dental Care with tooth pain, we take X-rays of your mouth to locate the tooth causing the problem. If your dentist determines you need a root canal, they numb the area to ensure you remain comfortable throughout the procedure.
Your dentist removes the infected pulp and cleans the root canal. A temporary filling seals the access hole made in the tooth, and the entire tooth may be covered with a temporary crown. You may also receive a prescription for antibiotics.
When you return for the next visit, we fit a permanent crown over your tooth after the root canal to provide long-term, sturdy protection.
Recovering from a root canal
Modern dentistry makes pain-free root canals possible. Most patients find recovering from a root canal is easier than having a tooth extracted or dealing with the pain of an infected tooth.
We place Novocain in strategic parts of your mouth to numb the areas affected by the treatment, so while you may feel some pressure and hear noises from the dental tools, the procedure shouldn't cause pain.
Root canal or extraction?
Family Dental Care recommends root canals to save teeth from further damage and prevent tooth loss. Once a tooth has become badly damaged, your only treatment choices are to extract it or save it with a root canal.
Some patients wonder if extracting the infected tooth is a better option than a root canal. While removing the tooth can relieve the pain and prevent the infection from spreading to other areas of your mouth, there are long-term consequences to tooth extraction.
Missing one or more teeth causes excess pressure and force on the remaining teeth. The jawbone weakens without the tooth in place, and the empty space of the missing tooth causes teeth to shift and change position, which can lead to problems with your bite. A root canal is almost always a better option than extracting the infected tooth.
There is no need to fear a root canal, despite the rumors that the procedure is painful. To learn more about root canals or find out if you need one, call Family Dental Care or use the online booking system to schedule an appointment today.