Delivering a speech to a crowd of hundreds of people. Waiting in line for hours at the DMV. Seeing your dentist for a root canal. The common denominator between the three? Most people absolutely dread the mere thought of them. In the case of public speaking and getting your driver’s license renewed, maybe they’re on to something. However, your Charlottesville dentist is here to let you know – root canals don’t live up to their infamous reputation. In fact, the procedure provides needed relief for patients in pain and saves an estimated 24 million teeth in the United States every year.
The Root Of The Problem
The main source of confusion when it comes to root canals is the conflation of pain from an infection of the dental pulp with pain from the procedure used to treat this infection. When people describe their root canals as being painful, what they’re almost always actually referring to is the inflammatory pain caused by an infection of the pulp (sometimes referred to as endodontitis or pulpitis).
A pulp infection occurs when a tooth’s enamel and dentin layers are eroded to the point where they fail to protect the pulp residing underneath. Within the pulp itself lies blood vessels and the nerve, which is essentially the “root” of the tooth.
Dealing with an infected tooth can be incredibly unpleasant, not to mention a major inconvenience, but a root canal procedure alleviates discomfort, prevents bone loss, and allows patients dealing with an infection to resume normal life.
Do I Need A Root Canal?
What is the underlying cause of a dental pulp infection? There are two main culprits that render pulp vulnerable – gradual tooth decay caused by long-term neglect or an injury which may leave the pulp exposed. If you’re dealing with a decaying or chipped tooth and are contending with any of the below symptoms, you may seriously benefit from a root canal procedure.
- A tooth persistently throbbing or aching
- Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold
- A tooth turning gray or black
- Visible swelling of the gums or face
While it’s unsurprising that root canals have developed such a negative public perception considering how unpleasant a pulp infection can be, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. Thanks to modern expertise and local anesthetic, root canals generally don’t contribute to patient discomfort. Instead, root canals provide needed, welcome relief when dealing with an infected tooth.
About the Author
Dr. Hal M. Lippard, or “Dr. Hal,” has been serving patients in Charlottesville, VA for over twenty years. Our boutique office offers personalized dental care that allows us to get to know our patients and their families. Advanced technology gives us the ability to make your experience more comfortable and efficient, whether you’re in need of a routine checkup or a root canal.
Would you like to contact Dr. Hal? He can be reached through his website or by calling 434-260-5530.