Root canals have a bad reputation. They’re always thought of as being horrible and painful. But this is far from the actual truth. Dr. Ed Lazer of Cosmetic and Advanced Dentistry, a dentist in Baltimore, shares what you can actually expect from a root canal.
What is a Root Canal?
Technically, the root canal is a part inside your tooth. It’s hollow and holds the dental pulp and nerves. But when someone talks about a root canal, they often mean a root canal procedure. A root canal is done when the dental pulp becomes infected. The infected dental pulp has to be removed to avoid further damage to the tooth.
How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?
Root canals can have a wide range of symptoms. Sometimes, you can’t even tell at all that there’s an infection. It may only be diagnosed with the expertise and dental technology provided at your regular dental checkup. The most common symptom is pain. This occurs most often when you’re chewing or biting down on something.
Having sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages is an indicator as well. You may notice that the gums around the particular tooth are swollen and red, as well as more sensitive than normal. Your tooth may be discolored due to the infection. It’s usually darker in color because of the infection in the middle.
The Root Canal Process
If you think you need a root canal, we’ll first diagnose it at our office. We want to make sure that it is what you think it is. A separate appointment will be scheduled for the procedure itself. We use local anesthesia to numb the entire area around the affected tooth. Our office also offers sedation dentistry, in case you have a fear of the dentist or other medical conditions that may make a root canal difficult.
Once you’re comfortable, a small hole will be drilled in the back of the tooth. A special tool is used to get inside the tooth and scrape out the infected dental pulp. It’s then thoroughly cleaned to make sure that the infection is gone. The hollow tooth is filled with a biocompatible material, and a dental crown is usually placed to seal the tooth off from further infection.
The reputation of root canals as painful comes from the infection itself. Often, an infected tooth does cause a lot of pain. But the actual procedure isn’t much more extensive than getting a dental filling. Many patients report that some of their pain is relieved immediately, as the infected pulp swells and puts pressure on the outside of the tooth. Removing the infection is what actually gets rid of the pain.
Root Canals at Your Baltimore Dentist
Do you think you have a tooth that may need a root canal? Call us or schedule an appointment online.