Root Canals: What Are They and How Do They Benefit You
When a dentist tells a patient that a root canal is necessary, he or she may become a bit apprehensive. However, by understanding why a root canal is necessary, how it is performed, and the benefits associated with it, it may ease the patient’s mind and make him or her feel more comfortable.
What Is a Root Canal?
In order to fully understand the processes behind a root canal, it is first important to understand the different parts of the tooth itself. Underneath the white part of your tooth, which is made from dentin covered by a thin layer of enamel, is the soft tissue of the tooth which is called the pulp. Located inside the pulp are blood vessels and nerves which are necessary for keeping the root of the tooth healthy as it develops. However, once a tooth has developed completely, it can survive without the pulp. A root canal, then, is the process of removing the pulp from the inside of the tooth.
When Is a Root Canal Necessary?
A root canal becomes necessary whenever the pulp inside of a tooth becomes inflamed or infected, and this can occur for many reasons. For instance, a cavity is a breeding ground for bacteria, and if it is left untreated, the bacteria may infect the pulp. Cracked or broken teeth and common dental conditions like gingivitis can also lead to inflammation or infection and the need for a root canal.
What to Expect
Contrary to popular belief, a root canal is not an incredibly uncomfortable procedure. In fact, it is no more uncomfortable than a filling. Patients are made comfortable by their dentists prior to the procedure, and it can usually be completed in a single appointment, though many dentists will schedule a second appointment for follow-up. It usually takes about an hour to complete the procedure, and patients are given home care instructions. Usually, ibuprofen or acetaminophen is recommended to alleviate pain, and patients are instructed to avoid chewy or crunchy foods for a period of time.
What Are the Benefits of a Root Canal?
A root canal is often necessary for saving teeth when the pulp inside them has become infected or inflamed. The real benefit of a root canal is saving the tooth; doing so can protect the patient’s other teeth from unnecessary strain and wear, provide a more pleasing aesthetic appearance and boost self-confidence, allow for a normal biting sensation, and offer more efficient chewing which can potentially prevent problems with the jaws later in life. When the procedure is performed by an experienced and competent dentist, a tooth that has undergone a root canal can last a lifetime.
Although patients may feel a bit nervous or even fearful at first when they are told that they will need a root canal, being armed the right factual information about the procedure can help to put them at ease. With the right dentist, a root canal is comfortable and relatively pain-free, as well. Our office is the leader in Downtown Los Angeles for low cost root canals. Please give us a call to schedule a free consultation.