Root Canals
Root Canals

Why would you need a root canal?

There can be a few different reasons why your dentist will tell you that you need a root canal. The most common are:

  • Cracked or damaged teeth
  • Deep cavities
  • An abscess
  • Trauma

When the tooth root has become inflamed or infected, this is a sign that bacteria have been able to enter through the damaged enamel. This infection leads to painful swelling and tenderness.

Myths about root canals you may have heard

  • Myth #1: A root canal is painful
    Root canals don’t cause pain, they relieve it! With today’s modern anesthetics and technology, a root canal is no more painful than getting a simple filling.
  • Myth #2: It’s better to just have the tooth removed
    A tooth extraction should always be a “last resort” treatment. Nothing functions as well as your own natural teeth, so preserving them whenever possible is always the best alternative. A root canal allows you to keep your now healthy natural tooth. This prevents you from having to resort to other dental treatments, such as bridges or implants, to fill in the gap left by an extracted tooth.
  • Myth #3: You only need a root canal if your tooth hurts
    Sometimes a tooth’s root infection has become so severe that the tooth actually dies. You may no longer be feeling any pain but infection is still present and damaging your underlying bone structure. Even at this point, a root canal can still save the tooth structure itself. Routine dental exams are important to detect any sign of tooth infection and deal with it before it becomes painful and damaging.
  • Myth #4: Root canals take many visits to complete
    Most root canals can be completed in just a couple of hours. If there is no serious infection they can usually be finished in one appointment or you may have to return to complete the filling or crown procedure. The condition of your tooth and the severity of infection dictate the treatment time needed.
  • Myth #5: Infections are common after a root canal
    A re-infection of the tooth root can happen, but it is not common. If infection returns, further treatment will be needed. The newest dental materials used to pack a tooth after a root canal have been specifically designed to significantly reduce the likelihood of re-infection.