How Root Canal Benefits Your Dental Health
When people joke that they would rather have a “root canal” than to undergo some other painful experience, they get it completely backwards.
First of all, what they mean is not a root canal, but a root canal procedure.
A tooth is attached to the jaw by its roots below the gum line. The visible outer layer above the gums is the enamel, the hardest bone in the body. The next layer below the gums that surrounds the roots is the dentin, softer than enamel, but hard enough to protect the inner pulp. The pulp consists of nerves, blood vessels, and soft connective tissue that help the tooth grow until it is fully developed.
The pulp can get infected by the bacteria that thrive on food particles that are not brushed and flossed off daily. They enter by a cavity, crack, or chip that damages the enamel and dentin. Fortunately, the pulp can be cleaned out and replaced by a biocompatible, rubber-like material to avoid re-infection, since a mature tooth is nourished by the tissues around it.
An infected root canal can be very painful, especially when you bite or chew food. It can also manifest when you have continuing sensitivity to hot or cold food or liquids, swollen or tender gums, or darkening of gums around a tooth.
The root canal procedure is essentially painless, if sometimes uncomfortable, but it stops the pain of the infection. You have a range of ways you can choose to numb the area while the therapy is being performed, from local anesthetic injections to strong and mild pain-prevention pills. Dr. Mashkouri has been trained and has lots of experience treating infected root canals.
Root Canal Therapy Advantages
The advantages of root canal therapy to save a tooth, instead of extracting it, include keeping your bite normal for chewing, preventing wear and tear on other teeth if the bite becomes misaligned, and maintaining the appearance of a nice smile.
You can return to work right after a root canal procedure, though your mouth may be numb for 2-4 hours and you should wait to eat until that is gone.
If you are concerned that you may have infected root canals, all for an appointment to have a full dental exam to determine the cause of the pain and your best options.