We know that dentists are far from the most loved medical professionals. The sounds and smells in our office are enough to make upward of 60% of people suffer from dental anxiety.
Alas, sometimes professional dental services are the only thing standing between you and tooth decay so severe you wind up losing your tooth.
But we’re happy to report that modern dental procedures are fast and generally painless. Still, we understand you have questions that need answering anytime you’re told you need a certain treatment.
Our team of dentists at Rifkin Dental has the details on root canals, so you know exactly what you’re in for.
The when and why behind root canals
We turn to root canals when your teeth become so infected and damaged that they threaten your oral and overall health. The infection we treat with a root canal doesn’t develop on the surface of your teeth but in the deepest chambers within.
In the very center of your teeth is a substance called pulp. Here, all of the blood vessels and nerves meet. Infection in the pulp affects your nerves and causes significant pain, as well as:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- Soreness when eating and drinking
- Bad breath
- Swollen, tender gums
- Tooth discoloration
- Discomfort in your lymph nodes
- Abscesses or pimples on your gums
The infection can also reach as far as the root of your tooth and cause your tooth to fall out entirely. In the worst cases, the infection enters your bloodstream through your tooth and spreads to other parts of your body.
Tooth infections usually stem from untreated cavities that have allowed bacteria to travel into the deepest layers of your teeth. Cavities form when you have poor oral health, which allows plaque, tartar, bacteria, debris, and other harmful substances to create holes in your teeth.
We take detailed images of your teeth to determine the extent of your infection and whether or not you need a root canal to eradicate the decay.
In addition to severe infection and decay, we may use a root canal to address complications from repeated dental work and/or trauma, such as cracked or chipped teeth.
Root canals have a bad reputation, but the reality is they’re much gentler than you imagine. We use a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area before we start working and offer sedation dentistry to help you relax even more if necessary.
Once you’re numb and comfortable, we place a small rubber dam around your tooth to keep your gums safe and clean during the procedure. Then, we make a small opening in your tooth to give us access to the diseased inner pulp.
We carefully remove the infection, fill and seal the hole, and prepare your tooth for a dental crown. You wear a temporary crown until your permanent one returns from the lab.
After your final appointment, you walk away with a stronger, healthier tooth and a cohesive smile.
Got a toothache? Don’t wait to get help. Call or click to schedule a consultation with us at one of our Rifkin Dental locations in either Carmel or Yorktown Heights, New York, today. We can help you determine the best way to save your tooth and restore your oral health.