Everyone braces themselves at the dentist when they hear those five dreaded words: “You need a root canal.” Society has built root canals up to be a big and terrifying procedure, but the truth is it is incredibly common and simple. Millions of people have this small procedure done each year and come out of it with healthier, stronger teeth. But people are often afraid of things they do not know. So what exactly is a root canal? Let’s break it down together to learn the basics and see why we don’t have to be afraid. 

What Is A Root Canal?

To put it simply, a root canal treatment is a procedure that takes out any infection or bacteria in the root canal. Underneath your tooth enamel, in the very center of the tooth, is a soft tissue called pulp. The tissue is made up of blood, nerves, and connective tissue that help to grow the root of your tooth in its development. If you need a root canal, it means that the pulp in your tooth has become inflamed or infected and must be removed. Your dentist will then remove the pulp, clean and disinfect the inside of your tooth, and then fill and seal your tooth. It’s as simple as that.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

Root canals become necessary due to a number of variables. Most commonly, root canals are needed when a cavity in the tooth goes untreated for too long. A cavity is simply decay in the tooth, so if the decay becomes too deep, you’ll need a root canal to completely remove it. Other causes include a crack in the tooth from injury or genetics, too much previous dental work, an issue with the current filling, or other situations that expose the pulp to infection. 

You’ll know you need to see a dentist if you begin to experience extreme pain while chewing or biting, lingering pain, severe heat and cold sensitivity, or swollen and tender gums. If you experience any of these things, see your dentist right away.

What Does A Root Canal Entail?

A typical root canal procedure is just like a normal visit to the dentist. Your dentist will most likely situate you in a chair and give you a numbing medication on your gums before injecting you with a small amount of local anesthetic. You will normally be awake for the entire procedure, but you should not be in pain with appropriate local anesthetic. The entire procedure takes roughly an hour depending on the circumstances and while you will be numb for several hours, you can usually go back to your normal day afterwards. 

While the idea of a root canal can be stress inducing, it is common and easy. Your teeth are in good hands with Dr. Ray Orzechowski and Dr. Shannon Arndt.. Think you might need a root canal? Give us a call today!