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The Painless Truth About Root Canals

  • February 8, 2016

Have you ever heard any of these urban legends?

Alligators live in the sewers.

Elvis Presley is still alive.

Root canals hurt.

None of these are true, yet there are many people who believe them. The third one, in particular, is a concern to us at Total Dental Care of South Carolina.

We know that root canal treatments solve problems for our patients, and we only perform root canal procedures when they are in your best interest.

If you have a toothache, it’s important to get it checked as soon as possible. If you live in our near Columbia, SC, then we hope you will visit our dentist office to treat your problem.

Root Canal Treatments Relieve Pain

This is the most common myth that prevents people from seeking root canal treatments.

Your teeth are not supposed to hurt, and root canal procedures are performed to relieve that pain.

We know you have probably seen a movie or television show with a dentist who hurts his patients. In modern dentistry, we take steps to minimize and eliminate our patients’ pain whenever we can.

Your teeth are not supposed to ache. When they do, that means something is wrong.

This pain is not going to go away if you ignore it. Doing nothing is more likely to increase your pain and lead to infections of even more teeth.

A root canal treatment will alleviate the cause of your pain and reduce your risk of that tooth being infected again.

What Causes Root Canal Problems?

Poor oral hygiene is the primary culprit in these situations.

The ADA recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. You also should floss once per day and visit Total Dental Care of South Carolina for routine cleanings.

These steps will remove much of the bacteria that grow continuously inside your mouth. These bacteria cause plaque, which can lead to tooth decay, tartar, and gum disease.

This allows the bacteria to eat into your tooth. The outer layers of your teeth — your enamel and your dentin — do not have any nerves, so you may not feel any pain when your problem begins.

Your root canals are openings that lead to the center of your teeth. Your nerves and blood vessels run through your root canals, which also contains the soft pulp in the center of your teeth.

If your tooth decay reaches the pulp, it can become infected. This can affect the nerves inside your teeth, and that’s why you develop a toothache.

Here are some common symptoms that may indicate that you need a root canal treatment:

  • Pain in your teeth when you eat
  • Pain when you put pressure on your teeth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks.
  • Pimple-like bumps on your gums close to where you feel the pain
  • A dark, discolored tooth
  • Swollen gums near the tooth that hurts

What Happens During A Root Canal Procedure?

The short answer is that we clean out the inside of your infected tooth

Here’s a longer explanation.

First, we numb your tooth and the surrounding tissue with a local anesthetic. For patients who are anxious or worried about feeling pain, we provide dental sedation so they can be certain that they will not feel anything during the procedure.

After we are sure that you are numb, we will make an opening in your tooth. This allows us to access the pulp at the center of your tooth.

We will remove the infected pulp along with the nerves and the blood vessels inside your root canals. Then, we clean and sanitize the inside of your tooth.

After the inside of your tooth has been cleaned, we fill it with antibiotics and gutta percha, a rubbery substance that helps prevent reinfection.

We will seal your teeth by placing a dental crown, which adds another layer for protection.

You may notice some tenderness in the days after your procedure, but this should go away as your mouth heals. The pain of a toothache should be gone now that the cause of that pain has been removed from your tooth.

Feel Better Again

We know there are many people who persist in the belief that root canal treatments are worse than the problems that they fix. If we had a reason to believe that root canals were unhealthy, we would never perform them at our dentist office in Columbia, SC.

As it is, we know that root canal treatments are often the best way to eliminate the source of our patients’ pain.

If you have a toothache, you need to contact Total Dental Care of South Carolina today. You can reach us by calling 803-272-4162 or by filling out our online form.


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