Root canals have a terrible reputation. But they aren’t nearly as bad as you’ve been lead to believe! In fact, many patients say their root canal in Baytown was no more painful than getting a simple filling. Not to mention that this procedure prevents you from losing a tooth, which is incredibly important to your current and future oral health. Keep reading below to find out why root canals are necessary, what symptoms you might notice if you need one, and why they aren’t as painful as you might think!
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 – Pulp is the soft, innermost layer. It contains the nerve and blood supply of the tooth.
When you have a toothache, cavity, or fracture, an emergency dentist in Baytown will start by assessing how much of each layer has been affected.
If the damage is fairly minor, it’s only affected the outer layers of the tooth, leaving the nerve healthy and intact. In these cases, a simple filling or crown can usually repair it.
However, if the damage is severe enough that it’s reached the pulp (or nerve) of the tooth, it’s probably caused 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 needs to be extracted, which means you’ll need an implant, bridge or partial denture to replace it.
What Are the Signs That You Might Need a Root Canal?
A dental infection can spread to other areas of your body and become dangerous or even life-threatening if it’s left untreated. That’s why it’s important to talk with a dentist right away if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Significant pain when chewing
- Lingering or prolonged pain in response to hot or cold temperatures
- A pimple-like bump on your gums
- Swollen face, cheek, or lip
- A tooth that becomes discolored, dark, or gray in color
- Tender or swollen gums near a tooth that hurts
It’s also important to note that, in some cases, there are no symptoms present because the nerve of the tooth has “quietly died.” Even if you’re not in pain, you can still have an infection.
Is It True That Root Canals Aren’t Painful?
It’s possible that root canals got their bad reputation from long ago when dentists didn’t have effective anesthetic techniques. Fortunately, those days are over! Modern dentists get years of training to manage pain and anxiety. Now, they always make your comfort a top priority.
In fact, the first step in any root canal procedure is making sure you’re completely numb and comfortable before starting. There are also multiple sedation options for patients who struggle with additional fear or anxiety.
Not only are root canals far easier than people realize – they also help you have a healthier smile for many years!
About the Author
With over 25 years of experience as a general and emergency dentist in Baytown, Dr. Dean Hutto has performed countless root canals. When necessary, he recommends this procedure to save his patients’ teeth and improve both their short-term and long-term oral health. If you have any question about root canals in Baytown, he can be reached via his website.