Addlestone dentist, Dr Shaimil Patel, helps patients understand this tooth saving procedure.
As dentists, we understand that many patients exhibit at least some signs of anxiety and worry when they need to see a dentist, especially if they know that they need to have treatment. The one procedure which is almost guaranteed to make even usually calm patients show more anxiety than usual is the root canal procedure. But there is no need to worry.
Indeed, this general dental treatment is a very good way to save a tooth under certain circumstances, which we’ll explain below.
In this blog, we will take a look at what the procedure is used for and what it entails, and also why we think that it may have gained the reputation that it has. And also why some of stories of discomfort you may have heard are significantly exaggerated!
Why you might need a root canal procedure
A root canal procedure is used for one main purpose, and that is when the ‘pulp’ area of the tooth becomes infected. This is at the very centre of the tooth, beneath both the enamel and dentin parts. The pulp includes tiny blood vessels and also the nerves of the tooth.
When the enamel of a tooth is broken or decayed issues can arise because the dentin layer beneath it is porous and bacteria can spread quite fast. Providing that it is detected and treated quite quickly, this will mostly entail filling the tooth to restore it. Where the damage is left for longer, or where the tooth breaks in such a way that the internal parts are exposed, the infection is likely to reach the root canals. When this happens, there are two options left, extraction or a root canal procedure.
Why are people so worried by the treatment?
This particular treatment seems to have built up a reputation as the worst procedure that you can have. There is no reason why this should be the case and most patients are happy to find that it is no more uncomfortable than some other invasive treatments.
Whilst no one seems to know exactly why people are so afraid of it, there is a growing consensus that it probably stems from a time before x-rays were widely available. Without the use of an x-ray, there is no way of knowing if an abscess has formed inside the tooth. Making contact with an undetected abscess during a procedure would be very painful! Patients of the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone will be pleased to know that x-rays are always now taken prior to this treatment being carried out, and should an abscess be found, the procedure will be delayed until it has been treated.
The root canal procedure