Does the thought that you may need root canal treatment send shivers up your spine? Do you have the idea that it’s a painful and complicated procedure that is best avoided? If so, it’s time to think again. While an infection or inflammation in your tooth’s pulp tissue can indeed cause severe pain, you should remember that root canal treatment relieves this pain — it doesn’t cause it!
What is a root canal? It’s a series of tiny, branching, river-like chambers found deep inside the roots of your teeth, which contain the nerve, or pulp, tissue. It’s also a shorthand name for the dental procedure in which inflamed pulp tissue is removed, and the affected tooth is cleaned, disinfected and sealed. This treatment can put an end to the pain-causing inflammation and infection, and help prevent the tooth from being lost.
So, is this routine procedure exceptionally painful? The answer is no — it’s generally no more uncomfortable than having a dental filling. And just like a filling, it begins with an anesthetic to numb the area under treatment. At that point, for many people, the worst is already over. To restore the tooth’s appearance and function after a root canal procedure, it’s usually necessary for a crown or another type of restoration to be placed on it.