Many people avoid going to the dentist even when they develop a toothache, believing that doing so will save them from pain. Perhaps the most stigmatized procedure is the root canal. Popular media often portrays root canals as being one of the most painful and damaging dental procedures. Root canals are so stigmatized that some people opt to have bad teeth removed rather than having a root canal. In truth, root canals not only stop pain, but but do less damage to the surrounding tissue than extractions.

Getting to the Root of Toothaches

Illustration of a root canal procedureToothaches are commonly caused by a swelling of the dental pulp, called pulpitis. Dental pulp is the living nerve tissue, connective tissue, and blood vessels housed inside of every tooth. Pulpitis can be caused by inflammation of the gums or damage to the tooth. Swelling of the dental pulp causes pressure to build inside of the tooth. When this happens, the blood vessels bringing vital blood and nutrients into the tooth get pinched and the blood supply gets cut off. Afflicted teeth usually feel sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.

Left untreated, the nerve inside of the tooth will start to slowly die, causing you more pain. Infection may also develop and increase your pain. Leaving an infected tooth alone could result in resorption of the tooth root, and nearby teeth may become damaged or infected. In some cases, the infection could spread to other parts of your body, requiring medical treatment and possible hospitalization. Painful teeth should be looked at by a dentist to check for damage, signs of gum disease, or infection.

Extractions are Not Ideal

A common belief is that extracting a bad tooth is better than having a root canal. Although removing the tooth does fix the problem, it is not the ideal mode of dealing with pulp inflammation or infection. Tooth extractions take longer to recover from than root canals because you lose not only the living tissue inside of the tooth, but also the hard tissue anchored into your gum and jaw. You will also need a dental implant placed to keep neighboring teeth from moving over to fill the gap. Dental implants are durable and long-lasting, but nothing can compare to your natural teeth. Whenever possible, keeping your natural teeth intact is preferable.

The Healing Power of Root Canals

Infections and damage to the nerve tissue may require a root canal. Removing the damaged pulp and infection will relieve your pain and leave you worry-free the next time you want to eat something like ice cream. Under general anesthesia, you shouldn’t feel any pain. Unlike extractions, you will be right back on your feet after a root canal so that you don’t lose the whole day to recovery.

To learn more about the benefits of root canals in Mohegan Lake, please contact Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake today.