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Should You Be Scared to Get a Root Canal?

added on: August 18, 2020

You’ve been told that you need what’s often referred to as the worst dental treatment out there — a root canal. Those two words can make any dental patient retreat in fear, and we understand why. However, while you may be feeling uneasy or flat out scared, it may help to know that the root canal’s reputation of being a painful and terrible treatment is old-fashioned and inaccurate. Join your dentist in Reston as we shed some truth about root canals. 

Do Root Canals Hurt? 

Let’s get right to the point and address the most common question surrounding root canals – Do they hurt? Historically, root canals have had a reputation for being painful. But the truth is, root canals help stop pain. When your dentist in Reston recommends a root canal treatment it’s usually because there’s decay or infection so deep inside your tooth a regular filling won’t fix it. Oftentimes when this happens, you will be in pain as the infection or decay has touched the tooth’s inner nerves. A root canal will remove this infection and relieve pain. And thanks to advancements in dental technology, the treatment formally known as painful, awful, and terrible suddenly becomes no big deal. 

What is a Root Canal?

Next, let’s take a closer look at the procedure itself because sometimes knowing what’s happening during treatment can alleviate concerns and fear. During a root canal, your dentist in Reston will:

  • Begin by thoroughly numbing the area to reduce or even completely eliminate discomfort. 
  • Make a teeny, tiny hole in the tooth (don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing) to access the inner workings of the tooth. This is where the pulp chamber and tooth canals are located. Inside the canals are nerves, pulp, and blood vessels.
  • Once visible, your dentist will clean out all the stuff inside the inner tooth canals. Again, you’re still totally numb. 
  • After the canals are cleaned out, the pulp chamber and canals are sealed to close them off to any more bacteria. 
  • Finally, many times your dentist will prepare and place a dental crown on the treated tooth. This further protects the tooth and reduces the risk of more damage. 

How Do You Know if You Need a Root Canal? 

The aforementioned tooth pain is a key first sign that you may need a root canal. However, please note that tooth pain can be caused by any number of things and doesn’t automatically mean a root canal is in your future. Talk to your dentist in Reston to find out the cause of the pain and find the best treatment for you. Other signs that you may need a root canal can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Gum pain and swelling
  • A pimple-like bump on the gums by the painful tooth 
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Worse pain when chewing or applying pressure
  • Hot/cold sensitivity that doesn’t go away once the food or drink is removed

If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can to get properly diagnosed and relief sooner rather than later. And if you’re told that you need a root canal, don’t sweat it, you have nothing to fear. 

iSmile Dental Care has dental offices in Northern Virginia, including in Manassas, Reston, Gainesville, Herndon, and Fairfax.