Root canals often get a bad reputation that they don’t deserve. When you hear those words, you often think of a procedure that causes a lot of pain. However, this isn’t the case at all. Dr. Matthew Harrison of Harrison Dental Associates, a dentist in Charlottesville, VA, explains the truth.
What is a Root Canal?
Technically, the root canal is actually part of your tooth. It’s the hollow canal inside that contains the dental pulp and nerves. But when you hear someone talking about a root canal, they’re probably talking about a root canal procedure. This is done when the pulp inside the tooth gets infected and has to be removed from the tooth.
How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?
Sometimes, you may not even know your tooth is infected until a dentist performs an examination and tells you. Some people report not having symptoms at all. However, if you do have symptoms, pain is the most common. Be particularly aware of any pain that’s sharp, appears to come on suddenly, or worsens when you chew.
You may also experience sensitivity when you’re eating or drinking hot or cold foods and beverages. The area around your tooth may become extra sensitive, red, and inflamed. Your tooth may also be discolored due to the infection inside making it appear darker. You may also notice swelling around the infected tooth and cheek.
The Root Canal Process
To start, the dentist will do an examination of your tooth to diagnose the need for a root canal. A full appointment will be dedicated to the procedure. At that appointment, we’ll use a local anesthetic to numb the full area around the tooth. We also offer sedation dentistry if you suffer from dental anxiety or a fear of the dentist.
Once you’re comfortable, a small hole is drilled in the back of your tooth. Dr. Harrison will use a special tool to scrape out the infected material from inside your tooth. The interior of your tooth will be fully cleaned to make sure no infection is left. It’s filled with a biocompatible substance and usually topped with a dental crown to help stabilize the tooth and prevent further infection.
When people talk about the pain of a root canal, that’s actually the pain of the infection causing pressure and pain. You actually get relief from the pain with a root canal. Many people say that a root canal feels like nothing more than a dental filling. The pain should subside when the pain and pressure from the infection are no longer a problem.
Getting a Root Canal at Your Charlottesville, Virginia Dentist
A root canal isn’t anything you have to be afraid of. Call us or schedule an appointment online to see if your tooth needs a root canal.