What Are Root Canals Actually Like?

Many people shudder when they hear the words “root canal”. However, despite their common reputation as being unpleasant and painful, you may be surprised to learn that root canals are not as bad as you think.

People are often afraid of what they don’t understand, but taking the time to learn some basic facts can help alleviate those fears. But a little knowledge can go a long way towards alleviating that fear, especially with Oakton, VA dentist Dr. Abbas Ahrabi of Oakton Dental Center.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal treatment is usually just called a “root canal” by most people. This procedure is usually recommended when the soft tissues inside your tooth — the pulp — becomes infected. This is most often due to bacteria entering through deep decay such as cavities or a chip or crack in the surface of your tooth. 

Once it has begun inside your tooth, the infection can spread down through the root canals of your teeth into tissues of your gums forming an abscess. Abscesses are very severe and painful infections that can threaten your overall health by increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other serious health issues..  

When Do I Need a Root Canal?

Sensitivity of the teeth to hot and cold, sensitivity to touch or while chewing, and inflamed and sensitive gums around the tooth are all symptoms that indicate a root canal may be necessary. If you have these symptoms, you should schedule a dental exam as soon as possible so a dentist can determine if a root canal is necessary and appropriate for your condition. Some dentists will perform their own root canals while others may refer you out to an endodontist. An endodontist is a dental specialist that focuses on treating the insides of your teeth. 

The Root Canal Procedure

To start, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to thoroughly numb the area to be treated. Then, he or she will drill down into through the enamel of the crown of your infected tooth and remove the infected pulp (soft tissue) from inside the tooth and the root canals. Once our adult teeth have grown in, they no longer require the pulp to survive as the surrounding tissues will continue to nourish them

Once the infected pulp has been removed, a biocompatible material will be used to temporarily fill the cavity inside your tooth until restoration can begin. In some cases, where tooth decay has damaged the roots and made the tooth unstable, a tiny metal rod may need to be inserted down into the root to hold the tooth in place in your gums.  

In the final stage of the process, a crown will be created and placed over the affected tooth. Your dentist or specialist will create the crown, matching it to the natural hue of your teeth, and will use it to cover the treated tooth. Within several days, the swelling of the inflamed tissues will recede and the “new” crowned tooth can be used to chew and cleaned just like your natural teeth. 

Why The Bad Reputation?

Many people avoid undergoing root canal therapy due to the mistaken belief that root canal therapy will be painful. Root canals may once have been uncomfortable but thanks to modern anesthetics and dental technology, the procedure is now only about as uncomfortable as having a filling placed. 

Comfortable Root Canal Treatment in Oakton, VA

So perhaps you now understand root canals a little better and they don’t seem so dreadful. We should instead see the root canal for what it is: a helpful procedure designed to alleviate pain and save your natural teeth so that you can chew properly and smile confidently. Hopefully, you won’t need a root canal but if you do, now you know there’s really nothing to fear. To schedule with Oakton Dental Center today, call (703) 382-6789 or schedule an appointment online