What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure where your dentist removes any decay, bacteria and nerves from the interior of a damaged tooth.
A root canal can help eliminate pain caused by damaged nerves, save the natural tooth and prevent the need for a tooth extraction.
What are root canal alternatives?
The only real alternative to a root canal is a tooth extraction where your dentist removes a tooth from its socket in the bone.
You would then also need to get a tooth replacement (such as a bridge, crown, implant, or removable partial denture) to restore chewing function and prevent surrounding teeth from shifting and causing more issues for your oral health.
This alternative is more expensive than a root canal and also requires more treatment time and additional procedures to the surrounding teeth and tissues.
Won't a root canal be painful?
It is important to understand that it is not the root canal that causes the pain - it's the infection in the tooth nerves! In fact, the root canal will eliminate the pain because during the procedure your dentist will remove all the nerves. Without a root canal, the infected tooth will continue to cause pain and can lead to more serious issues.
What can I expect with a root canal procedure?
A root canal is a common, routine procedure that can be performed by a General Dentist. With the help of numbing medicine, you shouldn't experience any severe pain, and many patients compare the procedure to getting a dental filling.
First, your dentist will remove the diseased tissue from the tooth, clean and disinfect the inner chamber, and then fill them with medication to prevent infection. To finish the procedure, the tooth is generally capped with a tooth replacement.
You may experience some mild post-procedure discomfort, but this can generally be managed with an over-the-counter pain medicine. In most cases, this pain should subside within a few days.
How do I prevent the need for a root canal in the first place?
The best way to help avoid the need for a root canal is to practice good oral hygiene routines. This includes by brushing twice daily and flossing once daily, in addition to attending regular hygiene cleanings and exams at your dentist office.