A root canal can save an infected tooth that would otherwise need an extraction. This tried and true method gets rid of disease and keeps your mouth healthy without any type of surgery.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a long, skinny filling placed inside of a tooth after it is cleaned of any infected tissue. When the nerve of a tooth dies, it needs to be removed to avoid pain and infection. This is often caused by disease or a tooth fracture. A root canal is performed by first ensuring the tooth is adequately numbed. Once numbed, the inner chamber is accessed and carefully cleaned out with small files. The chamber is then filled with an antimicrobial liquid that removes any infected tissue and bacteria within the tooth. Then once dried, a filling is placed inside the tooth, which seals it off. Because a tooth with a root canal is brittle, a dental crown is placed over it. This prevents the tooth from fracturing, which is the number one cause of failure of a tooth repaired with a root canal.
How painful is a root canal?
Root canals are generally slightly to moderately more uncomfortable than a regular dental filling. The pain lasts for a few days. Extremely painful root canals are a common misconception. Root canals can actually have quite the opposite effect, reducing pain immediately from an inflamed or infected tooth. Most of the soreness that does occur from the procedure is from keeping the mouth open for an extended period of time. There will be tenderness and soreness around the gums where the root canal occurred. You can even ask Dr. Cho about his personal experience, who had immediate relief from a severely inflamed tooth.