Should you be afraid of this often misunderstood dental treatment?
Being told that you need a root canal procedure is not something many people want to hear.
In fact, the very words can strike fear into even the bravest patients. For some reason, this particular treatment seems to have become the benchmark for painful procedures!
Whilst we acknowledge that having dental work done, even when performed by our skilled dentists at The Lodge Dental Suite, is not top of everyone’s list of fun activities, nor should our patients be afraid of feeling pain. Modern anaesthetics, highly trained dentists and sophisticated equipment minimises any discomfort that might otherwise be felt. Even the ‘dreaded’ root canal procedure should be no more uncomfortable than other invasive treatments.
When a root canal is needed
Root canal procedures carried out at our Cheshunt dental practice are performed in order to preserve a natural tooth when the soft inner pulp has become infected. This usually happens when the tooth has broken or fractured and bacteria has entered the roots, leading to infection. In some cases, this may lead to an abscess, and, where this has happened, the abscess will need to be treated prior to the root canal procedure commencing. Once the tooth has been declared abscess free, following x-rays, a local anaesthetic will be administered and the procedure can begin.
Despite its reputation, ‘root canal’ is perhaps more straightforward than many people imagine. Once the anaesthetic has taken effect and the area in which the procedure is taking place has been numbed, the top of the affected tooth is removed to allow the dentist access to the roots of the tooth. The infected soft materials are then removed from the root canals and the hollow canals cleaned to remove any remaining bacteria. The canals are then filled with a special filling known as gutta percha. It is important to note that some procedures can be more difficult than others, particularly when the tooth canals are bent and/or difficult to access. In this case, you may be referred to a specialist endodontist.
In order to give additional strength and aesthetic appeal to the newly restored tooth, a porcelain crown is added. Once this has been done, the patient will have a natural tooth that should be strong enough for everyday use. It is, however, unlikely to be quite as strong as a healthy natural tooth and care should be taken not to put excessive force on it, for example, biting down firmly on very hard foods.
Although a root canal procedure enables the patient to keep their natural tooth; once complete, the nerves have been removed and, in effect, the tooth is dead and will not decay. However, the surrounding gums are still vulnerable to gum disease as with any other tooth, and good care should be taken to keep the area clean through brushing, flossing and regular dental checks.
For an appointment to have a root canal procedure at our Cheshunt dental practice, please call The Lodge Dental Suite on 01992 643 388.