Root Canals 101

The root canal: it’s a dental procedure most individuals have heard of, and often avoid at all costs. Lake Monticello dentists like us agree that root canals should be one of the last options we use to correct issues with tooth decay; unfortunately, a lack of regular dental treatment or rapid progression of tooth decay can leave many people reaching the dentist just a little too late. As local Lake Monticello VA dentists, we want to make sure we help our community avoid the need for root canals by taking good care of their teeth and gums throughout their life.

To help you do that, we’ll take a look at the absolute basics about root canals, how to prevent them, and what to do if you think you need one.

Why Do People Need Root Canals?

A root canal becomes necessary after a tooth’s enamel has been damaged and an infection has begun in the root of the tooth. These infections are often the result of a cavity that was left untreated; generally, if cavities are uncorrected, the small hole they start as will continue to increase in size, allowing particles of food to get caught inside of the tooth, where it can create bacteria, and (subsequently) cause an infection. When a cavity advances into a root infection, many people are aware of the severity of their dental state simply because of the incredible amounts of pain. Often, people who are suffering from a tooth infection have difficulty smiling, biting down, and eating hot or cold items. If the root canal goes untreated further (for financial or other purposes) the infection can spread to a nearby tooth.

What Is a Root Canal Procedure?

Because a root infection is located in the root of the tooth, this is the area where dentists must focus their attention. The goal of a root canal is to isolate and remove the root infection, so that the tooth can remain intact and usable. Unfortunately, the root of the tooth is also home to a very sensitive nerve which spreads from the tooth through the jaw.

Root canal procedures start with the dentist numbing your mouth in order to muffle the pain of the procedure. Then, a small incision is made in your tooth so that they can access the area below the tooth; this tiny hole will then lead them to an area called the pulp chamber, which is the usual area of tooth infections.

Unfortunately, people who already have a root infection must get a root canal to have the infection removed before it spreads to other teeth. Thankfully, root canals can be prevented by brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist for cleanings on a regular basis, as recommended. As dentists in Lake Anna, we strive to promote preventive dentistry to our clients so that we can see you regularly, but without the pain of procedures like root canals. If you believe you need a root canal procedure, or simply want to prevent one by scheduling a routine cleaning, contact us today.