If your teeth hurt at even the thought of having a root canal, you’re not alone. Many people are anxious about tooth pain and root canals, often assuming that a root canal is one of the most painful dental treatments to have. Fortunately, root canals aren’t as bad as you think, and they offer protection to both your oral and overall health. Dr. Brenda Paulen is a Sandy Springs, GA dentist who uses root canal therapy to preserve the natural tooth structure and help you keep your smile healthy.
What is a Root Canal?
When the tissues inside of the tooth, called pulp, become infected, you may need a root canal treatment. This usually happens as the result of deep decay (cavities) or a chip or crack in the surface of your tooth. The infection in the pulp can spread down through the root canals of your teeth into tissues of your gums forming an abscess which is a very severe and painful infection that can be dangerous to your overall health.
A root canal removes the infected tissue so that you can keep the natural tooth. Root canals help prevent tooth loss because the infection is no longer able to destroy the tooth from the inside.
When Do I Need a Root Canal?
If you notice your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold, experience pain while chewing or touching the teeth, or have inflamed or sensitive gums around a specific tooth, you may have an infection. Your dentist can spot early signs of infections during your regular exams, which is why it’s so important to keep regular appointments with your dentist.
Dr. Paulen performs root canals in our Sandy Springs dentist office, but some dentists refer you to an endodontist. An endodontist is a dental specialist who treats the tissues inside the teeth.
The Root Canal Procedure
The exact treatment varies depending on your specific case, but in general, the root canal procedure follows three basic steps.
First, the tooth is numbed and gently cleaned. Once you are comfortable, the dentist removes the infected pulp from inside the tooth and the canals underneath. Your teeth will continue to receive nutrients from surrounding teeth once the pulp is removed, so you don’t have to worry that your tooth will “die” after this procedure.
Next, a biocompatible material is used to fill the space inside the tooth, which is then sealed off to prevent further infection. In some cases, if the tooth structure has been compromised, a tiny metal rod is inserted to hold the tooth in place in the gums.
Finally, we usually recommend a dental crown be placed on top of the tooth. This provides an extra layer of protection against infection and helps keep the tooth in place in the gums. Once the swelling goes down in a few days, you will be able to return to normal use.
Why The Bad Reputation?
Many people avoid root canals due to the belief that the procedure will be painful or because they may have heard “horror stories” of complications from the procedure.
The pain associated with a root canal is often from the infection within the tooth that will be addressed with root canal therapy. Most patients would say that a root canal procedure is no more painful than a dental filling. Dr. Paulen offers sedation dentistry options and will ensure that you are comfortable and relaxed during your treatment.
Comfortable Root Canal Treatment in Sandy Springs, GA
Proudsmiles is committed to your overall health and wellness, and root canal treatments help keep your smile healthy. Once the infection is removed from the teeth, you won’t even notice you had a root canal.
To learn more, call us at (404) 418-7734 or request an appointment online.