Root canals are painful: This is a common misconception, as modern root canal procedures are performed using local anesthesia and are not significantly more painful than a typical dental filling.
- Root canals cause illness: There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that root canals cause illness.
- Root canals are not necessary: Root canals are often necessary to save a damaged or infected tooth, rather than extracting it.
- Root canals weaken teeth: Root canals do not weaken teeth, and a properly performed root canal can often strengthen a damaged or infected tooth.
- Root canals are expensive: The cost of a root canal can vary depending on factors such as the location of the tooth and the experience of the holistic dentist, but in general it can be comparable to the cost of a dental filling.
- Root canals take multiple visits: Many root canals can be completed in one or two visits.
- Natural teeth are better than teeth with root canals: Root canals can often save a damaged or infected tooth, allowing it to function like a natural tooth for many years to come.
Causes of Root Canal System Infections
A root canal is typically necessary when the pulp inside a tooth becomes infected or inflamed. This can happen as a result of several factors, including:
- Decay: A cavity that is left untreated can eventually reach the pulp of the tooth, leading to infection.
- Trauma: A blow to the tooth can cause the pulp to become damaged or infected.
- Cracks or chips: If a tooth is cracked or chipped, bacteria can enter the pulp, leading to infection.
- Gum disease: If the gums around a tooth become infected, the bacteria can spread to the pulp of the tooth.
- Repeated dental procedures: Repeated procedures on a tooth, such as multiple fillings, can cause the pulp to become damaged or infected.
It is important to note that some individuals may have a higher risk of needing a root canal because of certain conditions such as deep fillings, large restorations, or even genetics.
Root Canal Symptoms
Symptoms of an infected or inflamed pulp, which may indicate the need for a root canal, can include:
- Severe toothache: A sharp or constant pain in a tooth, especially when biting down or applying pressure.
- Sensitivity to heat or cold: Pain or discomfort when consuming hot or cold foods or drinks.
- Tenderness or swelling in the gums: Swelling, redness, or tenderness around a tooth.
- Darkening of the tooth: The tooth may appear darker in color than the surrounding teeth.
- Pus or drainage from the tooth: Pus or drainage from the area around a tooth.
- A small bump on the gums: A small bump or pimple on the gums near the affected tooth.
It’s important to note that not all teeth with infected pulp will show symptoms and some people may have no symptoms at all, that’s why regular dental check-ups are important to detect any issues early on and prevent them from becoming more severe.
The root canal treatment procedure typically involves the following steps:
- Anesthesia: The tooth and surrounding area will be numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize any discomfort during the procedure.
- Accessing the pulp chamber: The dentist will create an opening in the top of the tooth to access the pulp chamber, which contains the infected or inflamed pulp.
- Removing the pulp: Using small instruments, the dentist will remove the infected or inflamed pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals.
- Cleaning and shaping the root canals: The dentist will clean and shape the root canals to remove any remaining debris and bacteria, and to prepare them for filling.
- Filling the root canals: The dentist will fill the root canals with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha, which helps to seal the canals and prevent re-infection.
- Placing a temporary filling: The dentist will place a temporary filling in the opening on the top of the tooth to protect it until the permanent restoration can be placed.
- Placing a permanent restoration: The dentist will place a permanent restoration, such as a crown or filling, on the tooth to protect it and restore its function. This usually done in a follow-up visit,
The entire procedure usually takes one or two visits depending on the case and the dentist’s schedule. A root canal treatment can be done by an Endodontist, a dentist that specializes in treating the root of the teeth, or a general dentist who has experience performing root canals.