More About the Root Canal

In April’s first blog we didn’t delve into April showers and May flowers. We didn’t talk about chocolate Easter bunnies or those tulips coming up in your garden.

We talked about the root canal. Fer fun!

Our aim was to dispel some of the incredible misinformation that surrounds this important dental procedure. Root canals aren’t painful, and they have the very valuable function of saving the life of an endangered tooth. Come on, the root canal should have a statue for its heroics. Maybe right there in Menlo Park! Instead, it is abhorred by the people.

Here’s more of the correct stuff you should know about the root canal.

Time for a root canal, actually root canal “therapy”

In the first blog, we set up how the tooth got to the point where a root canal was necessary. Infection had made its way into the interior pulp of the tooth.

Although everyone calls it simply having a “root canal,” as you now know from our first blog it is actually treating the infected root canal. Once the root canal becomes infected root canal therapy is necessary to remove the infection and save the areas of the tooth without decay.

In the procedure, Dr. Strober or Dr. Butkofski follow these steps: drill a hole into the tooth from the top, use tiny instruments to remove all the pulp whether infected or not, decontaminate the now hollowed-out tooth, desensitize all remaining nerve endings, pack the empty tooth with gutta percha, and then seal the tooth and, in most cases, put a crown on top.

All of this basically “kills” the tooth, and this concerns people. Won’t it now simply fall out? A tooth with a root canal can actually endure for decades, even for the rest of the patient’s life. The blood vessels are only needed when a tooth is growing during adolescence. Once the tooth is finished growing, it no longer needs any nourishment, so cleaning out the infection with a root canal doesn’t affect it.

Will it hurt during the procedure?

Now the $64,000 Question: “Root canals hurt a lot, right?” Wrong.

People think the procedure is painful, but it doesn’t involve any more discomfort than placing a typical filling. You’ll feel nothing during the root canal. People tie the pain of their infected tooth to the root canal procedure, but the root canal is the solution to remove the pain. The root canal removes all of the nerves from the infected tooth, so it no longer has any sensation. Afterwards, there will be some residual soreness as the surrounding tissues calm down from their former infected state, but this lasts only a day or two and is easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication. There won’t be an acute pain; the sharp pain caused by the infection will be a thing of the past.

Now that you’re a root canal expert, maybe it’s time you came in and had us check out that one tooth causing you lots of pain. It could have infection in the pulp. Call us at (732) 549-5660 to schedule your appointment.

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