The Ins & Outs Of This Important Procedure

We’ve all heard the saying “I’d rather have a root canal” when referring to something particularly unpleasant or painful. This unfair stigma has spread misinformation and has made an entire generation afraid of a very routine procedure.
The truth is, that a root canal often alleviates pain rather than causes it! In fact, not treating a root canal can lead to more pain as well as tooth decay, infections, halitosis, and all sorts of frightful dental issues.
At Tolley Dental, we are working to get rid of the stigma of the root canal. Don’t let the bad reputation fool you, when performed by a competent dentist, this procedure is a walk in the park!

What Is A Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental endodontic procedure to clean the soft tissues out of a decayed tooth, to keep the hard enamel, and save as much as your natural tooth as possible.
Nowadays, a root canal will not result in a black tooth or drilling holes in your gums. In the past, root canals were very painful, but thankfully dentistry has improved exponentially since then. Root canals are routine and the process is much more like a cavity filling than a surgical procedure. On average, there are about 15 million root canals being performed per year in the US.

Root Canal vs Extraction

While some decay may be too advanced, a root canal is normally preferable to extraction. An extraction might seem like the less invasive option, but they also lead to further visits and dental care. The extraction-area will need more care than a healing root canal, and the gap left behind will often require a bridge or a crown which will take follow-up appointments and additional costs.
A root canal will preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible. It is also the option with the fewest side effects and complications associated with removal. Some common conditions associated with extraction are dry-socket which is not life-threatening but is very painful.

The Step-By-Step Procedure

If you are having a root canal, there is a good chance the infection is moderate to severe. The dentist will perform an x-ray on the affected area to survey the damage. Most routine root canals can be done by a regular dentist and should only take 1 to 2 appointments to complete.
The procedure goes as follows:

  • The dentist will numb the affected area and then drill a hold in the tooth enamel.
  • The dentist cleans out the soft tissue inside, preserving as much of the enamel as possible.
  • The tooth is rinsed and cleaned very carefully to avoid spreading the infection.
  • After that, the tooth is filled and sealed.
  • If a crown is needed, then a follow-up visit might be required.
  • The procedure takes about 90 – 120 minutes.

For 95% of root canals, that’s all there is to it. There might be special cases, but all in all, a root canal is the best way to preserve the tooth and is the least invasive procedure to treat a severe infection.

Why You Should Never Postpone A Root Canal

Never ever ignore dental pain. A toothache might seem like no big deal but left untreated an infected tooth can lead to severe complications. Not only are oral abscesses a possibility, but there are also several horrifying side effects. In rare extreme cases, ignoring the problem and putting off treatment can even lead to multiple organ failure.

Antibiotics Are Not Always Effective
As recently as 2017 people have died from a severe dental infection. A toothache might seem trivial at first, but a quick blast of antibiotics might not be enough and may make matters worse. Seeking swift and comprehensive treatment is the most effective way to treat tooth decay.

The Sudden Absence Of Pain Is A Bad Sign
Sometimes, if endured for long enough, the pain disappears. Rather than being a sign of your teeth healing this might be the onset of pulpal necrosis or nerve death. It also means that the pain will come back with a vengeance later on as a full-fledged abscess.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to avoid this scenario. Coming in early might mean a quick procedure with minimal discomfort, but if it is allowed to fester, a raging oral infection will require much more complicated treatment.

Prevention Beats Pain
A root canal is often the last resort before tooth extraction and it is much more likely to alleviate the intense pain of tooth decay or severe infection than it is to cause more discomfort.
Dental pain from an abscess or an infection is so extreme because of the abundance of nerves around your jaw. Thankfully, it’s easy to avoid by regularly getting check-ups and following your dentist’s advice.

Get Treated At Tolley Dental

Come down to Tolley Dental and get yourself checked out. We provide comprehensive dental services in the Winchester area and we have very gentle hands. A root canal is a relatively simple procedure that can prevent some truly awful complications. So, don’t postpone – the sooner you take care of dental pain the better.

Brittany

Love the staff! Love Dr. Tolley! When dental emergencies have come up for my husband and I, they have always gotten us in quickly and provided outstanding service!

Laura

I had a very pleasant experience. Everyone is very friendly and the technicians are very good at what they do. Dr Tolley is great…very personable and skilled, great at cosmetic dentistry. Best dentist in the Winchester area (and beyond)!

Suzanne

Wonderful experience!! Very professional yet personable staff. Dr. Tolley was amazing. Got me in and pulled my abscess tooth even during Covid. Highly recommend their dental services. I am very thankful to them all and glad I was referred to them by a friend. If looking for a dentist, give them a call!!

Amy

Dr. Tolley, his medical staff, and his office staff are all kind and accommodating. Totally recommend this office for their professional skill and personable care. Thanks so much!