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What is a Root Canal?

added on: July 27, 2021

tooth root canal

Chances are, you’ve heard the term “root canal” more than a few times but do you know what a root canal really entails? In today’s society, root canals are synonymous with one thing: pain. A majority of people seem to believe that root canals are painful and difficult for both patients and doctors. Fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our doctors break down what a root canal is and how, at our office, we make the procedure pain-free.

It’s in the pulp

If a dentist decides a root canal is the preferred course of treatment, it’s because there’s an infection in the tooth’s pulp. The pulp lies beneath the enamel and dentin of a natural tooth. It contains the blood vessels and nerves that allow teeth to grow during childhood and early adolescence. After the tooth and mouth are done growing, the pulp is no longer necessary and the tooth can survive without it.

If dental decay becomes bad enough, it can sink down inside the tooth — into the pulp. Because this is where the tooth’s nerves are located, the infection can be quite painful. Once that infection really strikes, most people are already on their way to the dentist.

What happens during a root canal?

The whole point of a root canal is to remove the pulp and thus remove the infection. The dentist uses incredibly small endodontic tools to carefully drill into the tooth and remove the pulp. Once the pulp is gone, the dentist cleans out the tooth and shapes the empty pulp canals to make room for a filler substance. As with a cavity, the dentist has to fill the empty space to keep the tooth strong and healthy. At Stanley Dentistry, our doctors use a rubber-like substance that is both strong and long-lasting.

Will it hurt?

At Stanley Dentistry, we offer sedation options for every procedure — even routine cleanings. We know that going to the dentist can cause a lot of anxiety for certain people and we always want all of our patients to feel comfortable. For your root canal, you can choose from a few different sedation methods including IV sedation, inhalation sedation, local anesthetic, or oral sedation. What you choose to get depends entirely on your comfort level. Some patients will be fine with just some local anesthetic around the tooth. Others may want complete sedation so they don’t have to be conscious during the procedure. Before your procedure, you’ll talk to Dr. David Baronowski about what kind of sedation would work best for you.

Do I need a root canal?

If you’re wondering whether or not you need a root canal, schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible. Neglecting an infected tooth will lead to extraction (loss of the tooth). Never ignore the following symptoms:

• Pressure on the tooth is painful

• Sensitivity to hot and cold (that doesn’t immediately go away after removal of the stimulant)

• Swollen gums around the tooth (and sometimes a bump beside the tooth)

Looking for a dentist in the Cary, Raleigh, or Durham area? Give us a call at (919)460-9665. We’ll see you soon!