If you’ve never had root canal treatment (RCT), or if it’s been awhile since you have, then it’s natural to have questions about the procedure before signing up for it. For some people, the prospect of root canal treatment is a scary one, thanks to rumors that have plagued the procedure for decades. The good news is that most of those rumors are unfounded, are were formed by people who had exceptionally bad experiences in the past. The truth is that root canal treatment is often the path to relieving your severe toothache and saving your smile in cases of extreme internal tooth infection.
Is it necessary?
The short is yes. Your dentist typically won’t recommend a procedure, including root canal therapy, unless it’s absolutely necessary. In the case of RCT, necessity stems from an infection inside of your tooth’s pulp, which contains the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. RCT is the only way to safely remove the infected tissues and rebuild the healthy structure that remains so you don’t have to extract the tooth.
Does it hurt?
Root canal therapy doesn’t usually hurt; the infection that necessitates it does. Since your pulp contains the tooth’s nerves, once it becomes infected with oral bacteria, the pain can become unbearable. Carefully removing the infection through root canal therapy relieves the pain, and for additional comfort, you can opt for dental sedation during your procedure.
Is there an alternative?
If your tooth has become so infected that RCT is necessary, then it won’t be long before your tooth is too compromised to save, and will need to be extracted. The best alternative to root canal therapy is to prevent severe tooth infection by practicing excellent hygiene and visiting your dentist often for routine checkups and cleanings.