Posted on: 13 February 2018Share
When most patients go to an endodontist for a root canal, they expect to undergo a painful and grueling dental procedure. For the most part, this belief came about because root canal therapy has been consistently used as a negative metaphor for everything unpleasant, from unpopular bank bailouts to public speaking.
However, despite being one of the most feared dental treatments around, root canal therapy is actually quite painless. In fact, a root canal is more likely to relieve pain than cause it. Moreover, a root canal can relieve more than just dental pain.
Physical Pain Relief
In Greek, "endo" means within, and "odont" means tooth. Thus, it is the job of an "endodontist" to carry out the much-maligned root canal procedure. Within every tooth is a bundle of nerves and blood vessels. This mass of living tissue, also known as the dental pulp, extends from the root, where it connects to the rest of the body, up to the central chamber of a tooth.
If this tissue is infected due to tooth decay, for example, it becomes inflamed. As the infection worsens, the pain increases, eventually causing a severe toothache. An endodontist relieves a patient's pain by removing (root canal therapy) the infected tissue. They then clean and seal the tooth. Since the infected nerve is what caused the pain, removing it also alleviates the pain.
Financial Pain Relief
Some patients would rather extract a tooth than undergo root canal therapy. Instead of opting to remove the infected—and pain-causing—dental pulp, they choose to remove the entire tooth. Not only is tooth extraction more painful than a root canal, it is also more costly in the long run.
For example, if a patient does not replace an extracted tooth, the surrounding teeth will naturally begin to lean into the newly opened space. This will cause the remaining teeth to become crooked and unattractive. To correct this issue, a patient would need to invest money in braces. Similarly, replacing an extracted tooth will also cost more money.
Mental Pain Relief
Finally, the simple—and likely painless—removal of an infected dental pulp via root canal therapy preserves a patient's appearance. Their smile will be intact, along with their self-esteem. However, extracting a tooth, and even replacing it with a dental implant or bridge, could result in their smile becoming less appealing. As a result, they may not be able to smile with the same level of confidence that they once had.
When you consider that 96 percent of patients who have undergone a root canal would opt for the same treatment again, root canal therapy clearly isn't as bad as it is made out to be. In fact, for the most part, root canal treatment is much more likely to relieve pain than cause it. Contact a dentist for additional information.