Root Canal Therapy

Has any procedure gotten a worse rap than the root canal?

You’ve heard it from friends before whenever describing a situation they don’t like: “I’d rather get a root canal!” In fact, you’ve probably said it yourself!

Here’s an amusing twist, though – once you know more about modern root canals, especially those performed by a skilled endodontist like Dr. Michael Khalil, you would definitely rather get a root canal!

Why All the Negativity about Root Canals?

We have a few theories as to why people fear root canal therapy:

  • The name just sounds scary and people often don’t know what root canal therapy actually is.
  • People who need root canal therapy are often in pain from the associated infection, and that pain then becomes associated with the treatment itself.
  • Root canals performed in the past with manual tools were far less comfortable than modern-day root canals performed using high-tech rotary endodontic instruments.
  • The media, especially movies and TV, help perpetuate the idea that root canals are painful.

The point is, you really don’t have to fear a root canal! Your comfort is one of our top priorities, and we’ll take extra steps to make sure that you are comfortable throughout your treatment. If you are feeling anxious or stressed out at the thought of root canal therapy, please let us know. We can discuss sedation options that will help you drift right through the procedure.

What Exactly Is a Root Canal?

The name “root canal” actually comes from a specific part of your tooth’s anatomy because this is the area that the procedure treats. As the name implies, your root canals are channels that run through the roots of your teeth, allowing the nerves inside your teeth to connect to the rest of your nervous system.

Inside your tooth, beneath the layers of hard enamel and dentin, is a soft center called the pulp. The pulp contains the nerves of your teeth, and sometimes, it can become infected. This can happen when decay reaches deep inside your tooth or your tooth becomes injured in a way that allows bacteria to get in.

When this happens, you are likely to experience pain, swelling, sensitivity, and other symptoms. Sometimes we can identify a developing infection before it starts to hurt during a regular exam with x-ray imaging. This is one of the reasons why regular visits are so important. We’d much rather treat a problem before you experience any discomfort!

When the inside of a tooth becomes infected, treatment is necessary to save the tooth and prevent the infection from spreading. This is where root canal therapy comes in. Using specialized instruments, Dr. Khalil accesses the inside of your tooth, clears away the infected and damaged material including the nerves, and then fills the sanitized interior of the tooth with an inert material to prevent reinfection. The treated tooth is often protected with a crown.

You might wonder why we would recommend treating and saving the tooth instead of just extracting it. Whenever possible, preserving your own natural tooth is a healthier long-term option, and it will prevent the hassles and added expense of missing teeth.

Following treatment, you might experience sensitivity in the treated tooth, and this will fade as your body recognizes that the infection is gone. Most people report relief from the pain of the infection right away despite the lingering sensitivity.

Are You in Pain?

Dental pain is always a sign that something is wrong, and most dental infections won’t clear on their own. If you are in pain, please give us a call right away for a free consultation. A member of our dental team is on call 24/7 and will give you advice to improve your comfort until we can get you in for an emergency appointment.