If you’ve been told that you need root canal treatment (RCT) and have never had the procedure before, then you may have several questions before feeling comfortable with it. For many patients, the idea of root canal treatment has been unjustly characterized as an intense, unpleasant, or unnecessary experience. The truth, though, is that root canal treatment isn’t as complex as you might believe, and best of all, your smile will look and feel much better afterwards.
Root canal treatment is like a more complex tooth filling.
Even if you’ve never had root canal therapy, you might have had a filling placed to treat a more mild cavity. Like a filling, the goal of root canal treatment is to remove the infection (tooth decay) from within your tooth, restore the tooth by replacing the structure it’s lost. The difference is that, unlike a filling, RCT involves cleaning the tooth’s pulp, which houses the tooth’s nerves and is connected to the root canal.
Treatment relieves your severe toothache.
As tooth decay grows more severe, the pain in your tooth can become unbearable. That’s because internal tooth infection means that the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels have been directly infected by oral bacteria. The point of root canal treatment is to remove the infection, which in turn relieves the severe toothache associated with internal decay.
Treating a root canal can save a tooth from extraction.
The longer tooth decay is allowed to remain, the more of a tooth’s structure it can destroy. If you wait too long to undergo root canal therapy, then the decay may claim too much of your tooth structure for your dentist to restore the tooth. Extremely infected teeth may fall out on their own, or require extraction to stop the infection from spreading beyond the root canal and into surrounding tissues.