For many people, finding out that you need a root canal is right up there with being audited by the IRS. But, despite their terrible reputation, root canals are significantly less painful than a tax audit! In fact, it’s not uncommon for patients to report that their root canal was no more painful than getting a simple filling. Not to mention the most important part: root canal therapy in Superior saves teeth that would otherwise be lost so you can maintain a healthy smile for many years. But even after understanding the reason for the procedure, you might still wonder why it needs to be done in the first place when sometimes just a filling or crown is enough. Keep reading below to find out!
Why Do You Need a Root Canal?
Before explaining why root canals are necessary, it’s helpful to provide a brief explanation of tooth anatomy first. All teeth have three layers:
- Enamel is the thick outer layer.
- The second layer is called dentin.
- The innermost layer is called the pulp and it’s where the nerve of the tooth resides, which extends all the way through the canals down the length of the root.
When you have a damaged tooth, whether it’s a cavity, fracture or other injury, a dentist will start by assessing how much of each layer is involved. With small cavities or fractures, the pulp and nerve of the tooth are still quite intact and most of the tooth structure still remains. This is when a filling or crown is recommended.
But if the damage is more severe and has reached the nerve of the tooth, it will likely cause an infection as well as severe pain. In this scenario, a root canal will remove the infected pulp while saving the rest of the tooth from needing to be extracted.
After a root canal is performed, a dentist in Superior can put a dental crown on the tooth to restore the tooth’s size, shape and strength.
Is the Procedure Really Easier Than People Think?
So, if root canals aren’t so bad, where did they get their bad reputation? It’s likely because, at one time, dentists didn’t have effective ways of numbing people before dental procedures. When you consider that, it’s no wonder people said they were so painful!
Thankfully, modern dentistry is much different and patient comfort is the top priority. Now, the first thing a dentist will do is make sure that you’re completely numb and comfortable before the procedure begins.
If you have a badly damaged tooth, a root canal is well worth it. Instead of having the tooth extracted and needing a replacement such as an implant or bridge, you can save your tooth and continue using it for many years to come!
About the Author
With over 30 years of experience as a general, cosmetic and restorative dentist in Superior, Dr. Doug Clark has performed countless root canals and makes the procedure as easy and comfortable as possible for his patients. If you think you might need a root canal and have any other questions, he can be contacted through his website or at (715) 392-5161.