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To understand root canals
Need a root canal? Fear not
The prescription of a root canal often evokes a feeling of fear as patients recall horror stories told by folks of a previous generation. Luckily, for those of us seeking treatment today, dentistry and dental anesthetics have come a long way.
While a dental drill is still involved in the process, like most dentists, Chestermere dentist Dr Lowry has a lot of tools and techniques at his disposal to help your treatment be as comfortable as it can.
When do you need a root canal?
A root canal is required when the root of your tooth, the part that houses soft pulp, nerves and blood vessels is damaged or becomes infected. It’s usually the result of:
When a tooth’s inner tissues – its nerves or pulp – are damaged they begin to break down and bacteria multiplies. As your body fights the infection, an abscess can form. Other problems can arise from the infection as well such as:
- swelling that can spread to your face, head or neck
- loss of bone around the root’s tip
- the infection may spread as it drains outwards from the tooth into the gums or cheeks
A root canal can save your tooth
A tooth infection can’t get better on its own. Without treatment, infection may spread and painful symptoms can occur. The only alternative to a root canal is to remove the infected tooth. While this may sound like a viable option, missing teeth can cause a host of other problems including:
- appearance issues
- bite misalignment problems
- jawbone loss
Today, the root canal treatment process is relatively straightforward.
- First an x-ray is taken to assess the extent of the damage
- Next you’ll receive a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the tooth
- Dr Lowry will then drill an access hole into the tooth to remove infected or decayed tissues
- The hole is cleansed using root canal files, water and sodium hypochlorite
- Finally, the tooth is sealed and restored with a dental crown
The sooner you treat it, the less you’ll suffer
An invasive dental procedure like a root canal can be an uncomfortable experience, but the alternative – lasting infection or tooth loss – are much worse than the potential discomfort of the treatment.
If you suspect you may need a root canal treatment, please contact Dr Lowry sooner rather than later.