Patients may be skeptical about the need for root canal therapy when they’re not experiencing any symptoms with their tooth, such as a severe toothache. However, just because a tooth doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean that it’s not at risk for severe consequences that a root canal can prevent.
Root canal therapy is typically indicated when a tooth has already developed an infection or is at risk for doing so. This treatment can remove or prevent such infection, allowing a patient to save a tooth that might otherwise be lost.
Situations In Which Root Canals Are Needed
If your dentist has recommended root canal therapy, it is likely due to one of the following scenarios:
- Infection in the tooth
- Abscess in the tooth
- Crack or break in the tooth that exposes the core to the oral cavity
While any of these issues can cause pain as a symptom, they don’t always do so. Therefore, patients may still need to undergo root canal therapy even if they’re not experiencing a toothache or other discomfort.
Root Canal Therapy: What To Expect
When left unchecked, an infection or abscess that develops in a tooth can ultimately lead to tooth death. By removing the infected pulp material (or pulp material at higher risk for infection), root canal therapy can prevent this outcome.
In performing a root canal, your dentist will:
- Administer local anesthesia to numb the treatment site
- Create a small hole in the tooth to access the pulp chamber
- Remove all pulp material from the chamber
- Thoroughly clean the empty chamber to prevent repopulation of oral bacteria
- Replace the removed pulp material with an inert rubber-like substance
Root canal therapy does leave teeth more vulnerable to breakage, so a dental crown will often be placed after the treatment is complete.
Many patients are reluctant to pursue root canal therapy due to outdated beliefs that the procedure is incredibly painful. However, with modern instruments and anesthetic and sedation options, root canal therapy results in no more discomfort than having a cavity filled for most patients.
Make sure that you have the facts about root canal therapy, including an understanding of why it will be beneficial in your case. We encourage you to call and speak to one of our friendly, knowledgeable team members at DeSanti & Linden Dentistry to learn more about the benefits of root canal therapy.