Root Canals don't fear the root canal embrace it

As the saying goes, nothing is quite as painful 'as a root canal'.ᅠ Unfortunately this urban myth has gone a long way toward damaging the reputation of this important oral surgery procedure.ᅠ In fact, a root canal can save a patient much trouble by salvaging a dead or dying tooth from the danger of falling out.

What exactly is a root canal?ᅠ It's a lifeline between the tooth and the gums.ᅠ The whole medical science of gums and the inner tooth is called endodontics.ᅠ You see, teeth are actually living organs of your body.ᅠ They each have an inner core of soft pulp that holds blood and other essential life fluids.ᅠ The pulp is also the tooth's nerve center.ᅠ The sensations of hot and cold, of pressure, and pain are all transmitted to your brain through the nerve endings in the pulp.

The root canal, being as important as it is, can be a problem area if it ever becomes infected with bacteria.ᅠ This can result from poor oral hygiene or even an injury that fractures part of your tooth.ᅠ Once infected, there's no real way to cure it without a surgery.ᅠ Patients with root canal infection often feel a throbbing pain, and have increased sensitivity to chewing hard foods and drinking hot/cold liquids.

Saving a tooth can be a huge time and money saver if you consider the alternatives.ᅠ There's only one real alternative to a root canal surgery, and that's just an extraction.ᅠ You will lose your tooth eventually if left untreated, so the extraction process circumvents this step and removes it immediately.ᅠ The gap left behind can pose a number of health problems so most patients must wear a partial denture or have a dental implant for the rest of their lives.ᅠ Those costs can add up so often a root canal surgery can save both time and money.

A root canal essentially removes all infected tissue from inside the mouth via a large hole bored through the top.ᅠ A smaller drill is used to bore out the canals, but this can be a problem if your canals are curved in any way.ᅠ Once all the infected tissue is removed, the cavity is capped with inert filler.ᅠ The structural strength of the tooth is compromised with all this drilling; so many root canal patients receive a crown to add strength.

The result is still a dead tooth, but at least it's a dead tooth that will remain lodged in the gums.ᅠ That's because an infection that runs out of control eventually kills the gum cells that anchor the tooth.ᅠ Of course, sometimes not all of the infected tissue is removed and this can result in a re-infection that could require remedial surgery.

Root canals can indeed be painful, but in the hands of a skilled dental surgeon it can save you much grief later on in life.ᅠ Consult your dentist today if you are having intense tooth pain.ᅠ The earlier you catch a root canal infection, the better.

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