Is a Root Canal an Effective Treatment Option?

If you’ve been to your dentist recently and told that a root canal is the best option, how can you be sure it will be an effective treatment? The words “root canal” can strike fear into many people who are uncomfortable with dental visits, but this is not necessary. A root canal is a procedure your dentist can use to save your tooth. It is an effective treatment option, and used on millions of Americans each year. In order to have peace of mind and be assured a root canal is the best choice for you, it is important to understand the procedure and understand why your dentist has recommended it.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal removes the infected or inflamed pulp from the inside of your tooth. The inside of your tooth is then cleaned and disinfected to be sure all of the infected or inflamed tissue is removed. Your tooth is then filled with a rubber like material called gutta-percha. This seals the tooth and protects it from further damage. A crown is then placed on the tooth, or your dentist places a filling for further protection. Once the root canal is completed the tooth is restored and it will no longer cause you pain or discomfort.

The first image from American Association of Endodontists shows a tooth before a root canal has been performed. In the second image you can see how the removal of the infected tissue, placement of gutta-percha, and a new crown has restored the tooth.

Tooth before root canal
Tooth after root canal

A root canal is no more involved than a filling with today’s dental practices. Many times it can be accomplished with local anesthetic and you can return to your normal activities after you leave your dentist’s clinic. The goal of a root canal is to save the tooth as opposed to removing it. A root canal will leave you with a strong and healthy tooth that will last for many years.

How Does a Root Canal Save the Tooth?

If left untreated the infected or inflamed tissue will not only continue to cause you a great deal of pain, but it can also cause an abscess which may require more extensive treatment and loss of the tooth and surrounding tissue. Once your dentist cleans out the tissue and replaces it with a sealer the infection is removed and there is no longer any danger to the surrounding tissue. Your level of pain is greatly decreased, and once the area heals you should not have any pain at all. With the application of a filling or a cap your tooth is restored like new and you can continue on with your daily activities.

A root canal may sound like a frightening procedure, but in reality it is a very effective and advisable treatment option. If you are experiencing pain or swelling, ask your dentist today if a root canal is a viable option for you.

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