Did you know that there is a national day dedicated to the topic of root canals? This year, May 11, 2022, was National Root Canal Appreciation Day -a chance to recognize dentists and the critical role they play in protecting our health. This appreciation day happens every year, on the second Wednesday of May.
While root canals aren’t something that patients want to celebrate, this day is an opportunity to teach people about root canals and how they protect overall dental health. Years ago, before modern dentistry was available, an infection in the tooth could cause serious harm and even death. Now, through the use of root canals, it’s possible to stop the infection and save the tooth from extraction.
The Origins of National Root Canal Appreciation Day
This day started in 2005 and was founded by a dentist: Dr. Chris Krammer. Not only is Dr. Kramer an experienced dentist, but he has been proactive about using music to teach patients about the importance of dental care. For example, he shared a rap song, “Get Out the Brush,” at a baseball game, then went on to make appearances at American Idol and other venues.
The trend was so popular that we now recognize one day every year as a chance to share more information about root canals and why they are necessary. National Root Canal Appreciation Day is the perfect time to recognize the work that dentists do all around the world.
When Do You Need a Root Canal?
When there is decay in a tooth, and the infection reaches the tissue and nerves inside the tooth, then a root canal can be performed to eliminate the infection and avoid future damage to the tooth. This process saves the structure of the tooth, which is a significant benefit since the only option in the past was extraction.
If an infected tooth is left in the mouth, the infection can spread throughout the rest of the body. So, having a root canal can actually help you prevent other health complications and potentially even save your life.
Signs You Have a Tooth Infection
How do you know if a root canal is necessary? Only a dentist can make the determination. But there are certain signs that you might notice that indicate an infection. Here are a few things to watch for so you know when to talk to a dentist about a filling or root canal:
- Temperature sensitivity (to hot and cold)
- Pain in the tooth and gum area
- Sores on the gums
- Tender, swollen gums around the tooth
- The tooth is turning a darker color
- Damage or cracks on the tooth
If the tooth is decaying or infected, it’s essential to have an immediate intervention to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the mouth and the body. These problems will continue getting worse without dental care. The longer you wait for treatment, the higher likelihood of serious complications. Severe tooth infections don’t resolve on their own.
Infected teeth would otherwise rot if it wasn’t for the modern technology that makes root canals possible. Since natural teeth don’t grow back after they’ve been removed, it’s important to save your tooth whenever possible. A root canal preserves the tooth’s structure while also eliminating the infection inside.
How a Root Canal Works
Several essential steps happen during a root canal treatment:
- First, the dentist drills into the tooth to remove the pulp and decaying nerves. Taking out the inflamed interior of the tooth is necessary to prevent the infection from spreading.
- Now that the tooth’s interior is exposed, it’s time to disinfect and clean the area. Special dental techniques are helpful in eradicating any lasting infections.
- Finally, the middle of the tooth is sealed and filled to restore strength to the tooth. Usually, a crown (inlay or onlay) is placed over the surface area of the tooth as a restoration and protection.
Keep in mind that the only alternative to a root canal is tooth extraction. But extracting the tooth leads to a need for other treatments, such as the placement of an implant. A root canal is much simpler and more affordable compared to other expensive and time-consuming dental treatments.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
The good news is that modern dentistry makes root canals as simple as getting a standard filling. The dentist uses local anesthesia to numb the affected area, so you don’t feel pain during the treatment.
As with any other type of dental care, you might have discomfort or mild pain after the anesthesia wears off. The good news is that a root canal offers immediate relief from a toothache. Since the nerves are taken out during the treatment, you won’t feel pain in the tooth. But there might be discomfort in the surrounding gums and jaw because of the dental work.
This discomfort is nothing compared to the pain that a patient would experience by leaving an infected tooth in their mouth. Nevertheless, it’s worth an hour of discomfort to protect your health and avoid bigger complications in the future.
Don’t Ignore a Tooth Infection
If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, pain, or anything else that seems unusual, it’s time to talk to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Early intervention is always the best solution to avoid major dental work in the future.
One of the best solutions is to stay proactive with regular dental checkups and cleanings. Twice-a-year visits to the dentist are ideal for catching dental issues in the earliest stages. Then, you might be able to avoid a root canal by using a basic filling instead.
Our team takes a proactive approach to help each patient maintain the best dental health possible. If you have a toothache or it’s time for a checkup, we invite you to call our office for more information about available services.
We’re here to answer your questions and provide dental services for the entire family. Contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas to book an appointment.