Root canals have gained a horrible reputation through the years, and if you tell people you have to have this procedure you will probably get many, many sympathetic looks. But what exactly is a root canal, why would you need one, and is getting one really all that bad?

What happens during a root canal?

A root canal is simply the removal of infected pulp within a tooth. “Pulp,” the tissue inside of your tooth, includes blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. It can become infected if you have a damaged tooth, such as a chip or a crack in the tooth or a cavity that you’ve had for a while that hasn’t been treated. Such damage allows bacteria to get into the tooth and cause an infection.

It can be difficult to tell just from looking if your tooth is infected. It may look fine on the outside, but it doesn’t feel fine. You may have a sudden sensitivity to hot or cold, swollen gums, or pain when chewing (or pain all the time).

So, do root canals hurt?

Before the root canal, you will be given an anesthetic so that you won’t feel any pain. The infected pulp is removed, the inside of the tooth is cleaned out, an antibiotic coating is applied, and your tooth is covered with a crown. After the procedure, your mouth may feel sore, but over-the-counter pain medication can help.

Most patients report that a root canal hurts about as much as getting a dental filling. In a recent study, a root canal was cited as the most painful dental procedure for only about 20% of the participants. No one knows for sure how root canals came to be thought of as horribly painful, but it seems they don’t deserve this reputation.

Getting a root canal probably won’t be the best part of your day, but it will help to ensure you have healthy teeth, and it will prevent future pain, discomfort, and even more serious problems. If you need help for tooth pain, contact Avenue Dental in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Call (734) 484-4710 today!

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