You’re not alone if the mere thought of a root canal sends shivers down your spine. It turns out that two-thirds of Americans say they fear the pain of having a root canal.
Root canals have a longstanding reputation for being painful. Some stories about root canals may go back to the days before we had advanced procedures.
Other root canal horror stories may originate with people who had the misfortune of getting a root canal from the wrong dentist.
Some dentists don’t have the experience; others may not routinely use the appropriate anesthesia or instruments. Unfortunately, their patients have a bad experience during a root canal.
At our office, Linda Kay Nichols, DMD, specializes in performing root canals. With her compassionate care and in her skilled hands, you won’t have the same experience as any of the unpleasant stories you may have heard.
Dr. Nichols shares the top four reasons you don’t need to fear a root canal.
1. A root canal eliminates your tooth pain
The hard enamel on the outside of your tooth covers an inner core called the pulp. The pulp is soft, sensitive, and filled with nerves that travel in and out of the tooth through its roots.
When the pulp becomes infected with bacteria, it doesn’t naturally heal on its own. Instead, the infection, called an abscess, gets worse, spreads, and causes pain.
Though everyone has a different tolerance to pain, many say the toothache caused by an abscess is excruciating. There’s only one way to get rid of the pain and that’s with a root canal.
2. Root canal procedures are pain free
The fear of getting a root canal is kept alive by stories about someone’s horrible experience during their procedure. But a root canal should never cause pain. In the hands of a skilled dentist who uses anesthesia, you will fly through a root canal without experiencing pain.
It’s true that a root canal is a more extensive procedure than a typical cavity repair. That’s because we go into the center of the tooth, remove the pulp, and clean out the area to be sure all the infection is gone.
At the same time, we use specialized tools that are designed to safely and quickly do the job. And, just like other dental procedures, you don’t feel pain, thanks to local anesthesia.
We can ensure the procedure doesn’t cause pain, but you may still feel anxious. If you have anxiety over the procedure, we can help with oral sedation that makes you feel drowsy and alleviates anxiety.
3. A root canal saves your tooth
Without a root canal to get rid of the infection, the inflammation spreads and causes extensive damage. By the time your toothache gets bad enough for you to schedule a dental appointment, chances are the infection has already eroded some of the jawbone supporting your teeth.
If you don’t get a root canal, the damage becomes so severe that we may not be able to save your tooth. With a root canal, your natural tooth is preserved. We can safely remove the pulp in a mature adult tooth and the remaining tooth stays strong.
4. Root canals protect your overall health
Without a root canal, the inflammation and infection can get into your bloodstream and spread throughout your body. When dental inflammation spreads, you have an increased risk of heart disease, vascular disease, and stroke. Bacteria that originate in the mouth have also been implicated in diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
If you have any questions about root canals, call our office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, or schedule an appointment online today.