If there’s one dental procedure that people are afraid of, it’s root canals. But they’re much easier than you would expect! Believe it or not, many patients say their root canal in Pasadena was no more painful than getting a simple filling. In addition, root canals save your teeth from being extracted, which is incredibly important for the health of your smile. Since Root Canal Awareness Week is May 6th-12th, it’s a great time to learn more about this procedure and why it doesn’t deserve its bad reputation!
Why Are Root Canals Necessary?
First, it’s helpful to understand some basic tooth anatomy. All teeth have three layers, including:
- Enamel – This is the outer layer, which is the hardest substance in your body.
- Dentin – The second (or middle) layer is called dentin and is a bit softer than enamel.
- Pulp – The pulp is the soft, innermost layer. It contains the nerve and blood supply of the tooth.
When you have a toothache, cavity, or fracture, a dentist in Pasadena will determine how much of each layer has been affected. Minor damage that’s only affected the outer layers of the tooth means that the nerve is still healthy. In these cases, a simple filling or crown can usually repair it.
But when the damage is bad enough that it’s affected the nerve, it usually causes an infection and/or severe pain. This is when a root canal is necessary to remove the infected pulp while preserving the rest of the tooth structure.
Otherwise, the entire tooth has to be taken out, leading to the need for a replacement like an implant, bridge or partial denture to replace it.
Don’t Hold Off On Treatment If You Notice These Signs
If left untreated, an infection in a tooth can spread to other areas of your body and, in severe cases, even become life-threatening. That’s why it’s important to talk with a dentist right away if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Swollen face, cheek, or lip
- Significant pain when chewing
- Tender or swollen gums near a tooth that hurts
- Lingering or prolonged pain in response to hot or cold
- A pimple-like bump on your gums
- A tooth that’s discolored, dark, or gray in color
Also, sometimes there aren’t any symptoms because the nerve of the tooth has “quietly died.” But you can still have an infection, even if you’re not in pain, so it’s important to schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible.
Is It True That Root Canals Aren’t Painful?
Many years ago, dentists didn’t have the same anesthetic that we have today. Now, dentists get extensive training to manage pain and anxiety and always put your comfort first!
In fact, the first step in a root canal procedure is making sure you’re completely numb before starting, and there are always sedation options for patients who need extra care to feel comfortable.
The bad reputation of root canals stems from a long time ago. Today, they’re not only far easier than people realize, but they also help you maintain a healthy smile for many years!
About the Author
Dr. Kimber Holmes has over 20 years of experience as a dentist in Pasadena and is a graduate of the dental program at the University of Texas in Houston. With advanced training in root canal therapy and a gentle touch, she’s performed countless root canals to help her patients maintain great oral health. If you have any questions about root canals, she can be reached via her website.