Root Canal Awareness Day: Saving Your Tooth with a Root Canal

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.

What is a Root Canal?

Root Canal Therapy Can Save Your Tooth & Surrounding Tissue

The field of dental care often gets a bad reputation because of portrayals in many different media. Visits to the dentists are shown as painful and all-around bad experiences. It doesn’t matter what treatment is shown. One of the treatments with the worst reputation out of all of them is the root canal.

Root canal therapy is the most well-known endodontic treatment. Endodontic treatments main goal is to treat the inside of the tooth. Many people fear this treatment, believing it to be incredibly painful. However, Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas would like to properly educate people on the truth about root canal therapy, quelling the fears and worries of many patients.

The Anatomy of the Tooth 

As we mentioned earlier, endodontic treatment is the treatment of the inside of the tooth. Knowing the anatomy of the tooth will help you better understand how a root canal works. The white enamel is the outer most layer of the tooth. Beneath that is a hard layer called the dentin. Underneath both these layers is a soft tissue called the pulp.

The pulp is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues. It helps develop all of the hard tissue that surrounds the tooth while it grows. The pulp spreads from the crown to the tip of the roots, connecting to the tissues surround the root. While the pulp is pivotal to the growth and development of teeth, a tooth can survive without it once it has matured, receiving nourishment from the surrounding tissue.

Symptoms 

When the pulp inside the tooth becomes inflamed or infected, endodontic treatment is necessary. This inflammation or infection can be caused by several reasons, including a cracked or chipped tooth, a deep cavity, decay, or other serious trauma or tooth injuries. These injuries allow bacteria to infect the pulp. Some symptoms that may indicate infected or inflamed pulp include:

  • Severe pain when chewing, biting, and eating
  • A chipped or cracked tooth
  • Tender or irritated gums
  • High sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Deep tooth decay
  • Darkening gums

When any of these symptoms occur, you should seek treatment immediately.

Root Canal Therapy Process

Usually, root canal therapy can be completed within one or two visits. This endodontic treatment saves the tooth by removing the infected or inflamed pulp, saving the tooth and surrounding tissue. Here is the process of root canal surgery:

  • Your tooth will first be numbed with a local anesthetic. Once your tooth is finally numb, a thin protective sheet, called a dental dam, will be placed over the area to isolate the tooth, keeping it dry from excess saliva during the procedure.
  • The surgeon will then create an opening in the crown of the tooth. Then they will use very small instruments to remove the diseased pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals. They will also reshape the space to fit filling.
  • Once the area has been cleaned and shaped, the endodontist may place medicine in the canal to treat the infection. Then a rubber-like material, called gutta-percha, will be placed in the root canals. Your dentist will use a temporary filling to close the opening in the tooth.
  • After a few weeks, you will need to go back to your dentist to receive a permanent crown.

You should not feel pain during the procedure as the tooth will be numbed. However, there may be some soreness following the surgery. Also, important to note, you should not chew or bite with the treated tooth until your dentist has finished restoring it.

Root canal treatments are very misunderstood procedures. Many people view them as being incredibly painful, but the worst pain comes from the tooth being infected prior to the surgery. These endodontic treatments help save your tooth and relieve your pain. Contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas if you have any remaining questions surrounding root canals or other dental procedures.

5 Root Canal Myths Debunked

Of all the procedures to have done on your mouth, root canals are claimed to be one of the most painful. But it’s not all about pain, though. There is a lot of misinformation about root canals that can be scary to those who have been told by their dentist to get one. The goal here isn’t to scare anybody from getting a root canal. The goal is to educate and reduce the anxieties about root canals so here are 5 root canal myths debunked.

Myth 1: Root canals are painful:

This one is kind of true and false but for a unique reason. You see, several years ago root canals hurt worse than knocking your toe on the end of your bed or stepping on Legos. But times have changed. With the modern technology of root canal therapy and anesthetics you won’t experience a whole lot of pain. It’ll be like getting a dental filling.

Myth 2: Root canal’s cause illness:

This is false. The origin of this myth stems from long-debunked and poorly designed research conducted before modern medicine understood the causes of many diseases. To this day there is no valid, scientific evidence linking root canal treatment to any diseases throughout the body. If you have any questions regarding what to expect after a root canal, we explained this in a previous blog here.

Myth 3: It’s better to pull a tooth than have a root canal:

This myth depends on how much you want to spend on treatments. If you get a tooth removed that means you must replace it with a bridge or an implant and requires more time in treatment and can result in further procedures to neighboring teeth and supporting tissue. Now there is nothing wrong with a dental bridge. In fact, it’s a good procedure to have if you are someone who has a missing tooth or teeth. The goal of saving the natural tooth, however, is to greatly reduce having excess procedures to other teeth.

Myth 4: After the tooth’s nerves is removed you won’t feel any pain:

Sorry to break it to you, but this is false. While the tooth will no longer be sensitive to hot or cold foods or beverages after the surgery, you will feel that later in a few days. But all isn’t lost. If you’ve had root canal therapy and have experienced heightened sensitivity or inflammation, notify your dentist immediately and they can prescribe medication to help reduce the symptoms.

Myth 5: After you get the root canal, you won’t have to go back to the dentist for a while:

So… this is false. Even after getting a root canal you will need to make follow-up appointments to have a permanent filling or crown put on the tooth. During the procedure, a temporary filling is placed after the pulp have been removed. This protects the root from infection for only a short time, which is why you need to go back to the dentist. The last thing you want is a rotted-out tooth to ruin a beautiful smile. If you want more root canal details look no further than here.

Hopefully busting a few more root canal myths will get you talking to your dentist again. If you’re in the DFW area and you want to know more about root canal therapy, look no further than Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas. We provide root canal therapy in the wonderful city of Irving. Our highly trained dental staff remain informed of the latest trends in the dentistry. At every appointment, you’ll be guided by a supportive team who seeks to provide a unique patient-centered experience. Our procedures include bridges, ceramic inlays, tooth colored fillings, Invisalign clear braces, extractions, and root canal therapy. Don’t wait until it’s too late, contact us now for an appointment!