Root Canals Explained: Treatment, Benefits & Myths

The mention of a root canal can elicit anxiety and feelings on unease in many individuals. However, the belief that this dental treatment is painful or laborious is a common misconception.

In reality, a root canal treatment is a very comfortable procedure that reduces pain associated with a diseased or damaged tooth. This procedure can also help patients maintain their natural teeth and avoid extractions which often require more recovery, time, and cost.

Here’s what you need to know about the treatment, benefits, and myths of a root canal.

What Is a Root Canal Treatment?

A root canal is a dental procedure performed by an endodontist to restore the health of teeth roots. More specifically, the treatment targets pulp which is a soft tissue that resides within the root canal, below white enamel and dentin.

Pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and supports root growth. When it becomes infected or inflamed it can cause an abscess and tremendous pain.

How Is a Root Canal Treatment Performed?

During a root canal, the affected pulp is removed, the root canal is cleansed, disinfected, and shaped, and sealed with a rubbery material called gutta-percha. Subsequently, a crown or filling is placed on top.

The treatment can typically be completed within two appointments.

Why Do Patients Have a Root Canal?

Often times, deep decay, repeated dental procedures, a faulty crown, tooth chips and cracks, or other trauma causes inflammation or infection of the pulp.  It’s important to address this issue before it is able to form an abscess.

What Are the Benefits of a Root Canal Treatment?

Despite the myth of a root canal being painful, it’s actually a very safe and effective treatment that avoids extraction and allows patients to keep their natural teeth. In fact, patients that have undergone a root canal and extraction are 6 times more likely to rate the root canal as painless compared to removal of the tooth.

Additionally, a root canal is more efficient and costs less than an extraction. This is due to the fact that removal of the damaged or diseased tooth requires multiple follow-up appointments and placement of a dental bridge or implant.

These prosthetics often result in additional expense to the patient, whereas endodontic treatments are usually covered by insurance.

Lastly, dental crowns, which are placed above the repaired and sealed root canal, are aesthetically pleasing and look very natural. Therefore, they are able to rejuvenate the patient’s smile, eliminate pain and discomfort, and improve function.

For additional information about root canal treatments, please call the Washington DC root canal experts at Soft Touch Dentists to schedule a consultation.