Understanding Root Canals

July 7, 2014

Root canals are likely one of the most widely feared–or at least dreaded–dental procedures. The idea of invasive mouth surgery seems to strike a special kind of fear into people. The truth of root canals, however, is that they are one of the most essential and beneficial dental procedures. Root canal treatment can seem daunting, but it is a treatment that saves teeth and preserves dental health. A root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure that is typically performed by a specialist known as an endodontist. General dentists are trained in these procedures as well, but many opt to recommend patients to endodontic specialists for the treatments. Here is some valuable information on what root canals are and what you can expect during the treatment.

What is Endodontic Treatment?


Endodontic treatments treats the inside of the tooth and is needed when the soft tissue, or pulp, becomes infected. The pulp contains the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue and can become infected or inflamed from a variety of causes. During a root canal treatment, inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected. The inside is then filled and sealed, and the tooth is restored with a crown or filling to protect it. Inflamed or infected pulp can lead to severe pain and the development of abscesses–eventually necessitating complete removal of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is essential to preserving entire teeth during an infection or inflammation of the pulp.

A Routine Procedure

dental procedure

Modern root canal treatments have advanced to the point where the procedures are very routine and can be completed in one or two appointments–making them very much like an ordinary filling. This depends on the exact nature of the problem and personal circumstances, but the treatment, in general, is standard, efficient, and largely pain free. Any discomfort comes after the procedure during recovery. The apprehension over the procedure quickly subsides when you realize that this treatment can save your tooth, restore efficient chewing, natural biting, and protect other teeth from excessive strain.

Addressing the problem as soon as possible will not only help eliminate pain, but limit the need for ongoing dental work over time. Neglecting treatment can prolong pain and be cause for further, expensive dental treatments down the line. While it is likely that you will never be completely at ease with the idea of root canal surgery, understanding why the procedure is beneficial will help reassure you that the end result will be worth the slight discomfort and tinge of fear you may feel heading to the endodontist to receive treatment.

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