September 4, 2018
Most people are familiar with the term root canal, but they may not know what it means or why it might be necessary. That, along with the terrible reputation root canals have, can make it really scary to hear that you need one! But, rest assured that root canals aren’t nearly as bad as you’ve been lead to believe. In fact, most patients report that they’re no more uncomfortable than getting a simple filling. If you’ve been told that you need a root canal in Ridgefield, keep reading to find out what the procedure entails and why it ultimately leads to better oral health. You’ll also find out why your comfort is a top priority and how your dentist will make sure you’re well cared for – from start to finish!
When Are Root Canals Necessary?
To understand why root canals are necessary, it’s helpful to understand the basic anatomy of a tooth first. All teeth have three layers:
- Enamel is the outer layer and it’s the hardest substance in your body (even harder than your bones).
- The second layer is called dentin, which is a bit softer than enamel.
- The innermost layer is where the nerve and blood supply of each tooth reside – it’s called the pulp or nerve canal and extends down through the roots.
When a tooth has been damaged, either by a cavity, fracture or other injury, a dentist in Ridgefield will start by assessing how much of each layer has been affected. If the damage is mild, only the outer layers of the tooth are involved, leaving the nerve at the center of the tooth protected.
But if the damage is more severe, it can reach the nerve of the tooth and cause an infection and/or severe pain.
In this scenario, a root canal is needed to remove the infected pulp so that the remaining outer layers of the tooth can be saved. Otherwise, the entire tooth may need to be removed, making an implant, bridge or partial denture necessary to replace it.
Are Root Canals Painful?
It’s likely that root canals got their bad reputation because dentists didn’t always have effective anesthetic techniques. Fortunately, those days are long since past! Modern dentists receive years of training to effectively manage pain and anxiety.
You’ll be glad to know that the first step of the procedure is making sure you’re completely numb and comfortable before starting. Along with local anesthesia to fully numb the area, you’ll also have the option of having nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) or conscious oral sedation, which is a prescription medication you’ll take prior to your appointment to deeply relax you.
Remember, teeth are incredibly valuable because nothing will work quite as well as the “real thing.” That’s why it’s well worth it to make every effort to save a badly damaged tooth. After all, you want to continue using it for many years to come!
About the Author
Dr. Dana Jones is a general, restorative and emergency dentist in Ridgefield who makes every effort to save teeth whenever possible. By combining decades of experience with advanced training and a reassuring chairside manner, he’s able to make root canal procedures as easy as possible for his patients. If you’d like more information about root canals, he can be reached via his website or at (203) 438-8919.
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