In honor of Root Canal Awareness Week, which occurs each May, your dentist in Walnut Creek thought it would be fun to talk about this treatment that patients often dread. Why? Because it has a bad reputation for being painful — when the total opposite is the actual truth. Root canals are probably one of the most recognized and misunderstood dental services used today, with over 41,000 completed treatments on patients every single day, according to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE). The AAE also says more than 15 million root canals are performed each year in the United States.
If root canals are that bad, why are they so popular?
The Tooth Truth About How Root Canals Work
As scary as you might think it’s going to be to have a root canal, there’s really nothing to worry about, thanks to your dentist in Walnut Creek, who has some of dentistry’s most innovative technology. Having a root canal today is not a lot different from having a deep filling. There’s little or no discomfort because a local anesthetic is used to numb your tooth and surrounding gums for complete comfort. During the actual procedure, the
- Inside of your damaged tooth is thoroughly cleaned
- Infected pulp and nerve tissue are removed
- Tooth is cleaned to avoid further damage
You won’t feel pain, maybe just some pressure. Sometimes patients experience tenderness in their gums following a root canal, but acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) will certainly help.
Root Canals Actually Get Rid of Pain (Not Cause More)
Instead of causing you more dental discomfort, think of your root canal as the solution that can get rid of:
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold
- Pimples on the gums
- Swollen or tender gums
- Discolored gums or teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth
A 2011 review of 72 studies of root canal patients looked at pre-treatment, treatment, and post-treatment pain. These results showed that while the pain was high in patients before their root canal, it dropped moderately within one day of treatment, before dropping even more substantially to minimal levels within a week.
Prevention is Always Best
While we use root canals as tooth-savers, it’s best to avoid having to have the treatment altogether, right? To prevent the need for future root canals or other dental issues, always brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once. Using a fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse is also beneficial for protecting your teeth from harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay that leads to needing a root canal. We know you’ve probably heard this before, but try to limit the amount of sugary food and refined carbohydrates you eat. Sometimes these foods stick to your teeth and cause cavities.