Most people cringe when their dentist says they need a root canal. The fear of root canals is deep-seated in many people, and the mere thought of the procedure scares them. Part of this may come from misunderstanding.
A root canal is a procedure that dentists use to save a life – your tooth’s life! Teeth are living parts of your body and can therefore die. The pulp is the part of your tooth that contains the blood vessels and nerves. If the pulp dies, the pain can be excruciating and needs attention. The most common causes of pulp death are physical trauma to the tooth, a cracked tooth, or a deep cavity.
During a root canal, the dentist will remove the dead pulp from the innermost area of your tooth and fill the empty space with a rubber-like material. The dentist does NOT remove the tooth’s root. Once your tooth is filled, the dentist will fit a cap over your original tooth, giving it a second life. You retain your original tooth under the cap and you won’t have any more pain.
The idea of a root canal scares a lot of people because years ago, removing the tooth’s pulp was extremely painful. With the modern-day procedure, it is no more uncomfortable than a regular old filling.
Now if you still fear a root canal, the best way to prevent one is preventive care. Brushing and flossing your teeth can go a long way to preventing deep cavities. If you play contact sports, make sure to wear a mouth guard to prevent cracked teeth and physical trauma.
But if something were to happen, fear not. Root canals are not as bad as you think!