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It’s Time to Speak the Truth About Root Canals

dentist examining x-rays with patient

For too long, the root canal has been the victim of a decades-old smear campaign. It’s one of the procedures patients dread the most, but it’s also one of the most important and – surprise! – it’s less painful than the pain caused by the bad tooth in the first place.

It’s time to give the root canal the credit and appreciation it deserves. Let’s start by understanding what it is, and what purpose it serves.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal (also referred to as endodontic treatment) is a procedure that is used to save a tooth that has become infected or badly decayed. Inside your tooth, underneath the outer layers of enamel and dentin (both are hard tissues), is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp is home to the nerves and blood vessels that maintain the tooth.

If your tooth is damaged or decayed, the pulp can become inflamed or infected. Not only does this usually cause acute pain, but if left untreated, it can lead to the development of an abscess, which is basically a pocket of bacterial pus at the base of the tooth. It sounds gross, and if left untreated, it can spread to your jaw, head, and sometimes cause severe life-threatening infection.

During a root canal, we will clean out the infected pulp, carefully clean and shape your tooth, and then fill in the space to help prevent any future infection. Often, your tooth will then be recommended to have a crown or other kind of protective covering, allowing you to use your tooth normally.

They’re Not as Bad as You Think They Are

The poor root canal has been so maligned by TV sitcoms and movies that it’s almost immediately associated with a traumatic visit to the dentist, after which the patient returns home in pain and misery. The reality of the root canal couldn’t be farther from this portrayal.

Thanks to modern anesthetics and refined dental procedures, most patients experience more discomfort and anxiety from their own worries about the procedure than they do from the procedure itself!

Make no mistake: a root canal is a serious and important procedure. It not only relieves pain caused by the infected tooth pulp, but it can also save the natural tooth. If we recommend it, understand that it’s essential for your long-term oral health and comfort.

What Happens If You Need a Root Canal?

If you need a root canal, the entire procedure will likely take no more than one or two visits to our office. We will take an x-ray of your tooth so we can clearly see what’s going on, and what will need to be done. We’ll then administer a local anesthetic, so you won’t feel much of anything during the procedure. A dental dam will be applied to the tooth, which covers the surrounding area near the tooth and prevents any saliva (and the bacteria it carries) from getting into your tooth.

From there, we will create a small opening in your tooth’s crown, which they will use to access and remove the infected or inflamed pulp. We’ll also shape the inside of the tooth to prepare it for filling, which will protect and seal off the root canals.

The last step of the procedure is outfitting your tooth with a new crown. When all is said and done, your tooth should look like new!

Safe & Effective Treatment at Your Dentist Office in Barrie

At Dr. Elston Wong Dentistry, our chief concern is your health and comfort. We’ll explain exactly what should be done to relieve your pain or achieve optimal oral health, and we make sure every aspect of our work is precise and of the highest possible quality.

If you have any questions or concerns about your teeth or the recommended procedure, just ask. We’re committed to transparency, and we’ll make sure you understand what we’re recommending and why. To learn more about root canals, be sure to check out our previous post detailing the procedure.

If you’re experiencing any oral pain or sensitivity, call our office at (705) 721-1143 or send us a message online. A member of our team will be happy to get in contact with you.

Dr. Elston Wong Portrait

About Dr. Elston Wong

Dr. Elston Wong completed his dental degree at The University of Toronto in 1999 before arriving in Barrie in 2002. After graduating, he continued to learn everything he could about dentistry. Now he has taken the time to share important information for anyone to read.

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