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Root canals of the past have created misinformation about root canals today. The good news is that with advancements in endodontic technology, improvements in dental anesthesia, and rotary instrumentation; root canals can be a quick and comfortable experience. The bottom line is: root canals save teeth in an easy and effective way! Root canals save a high percentage of natural teeth that would have normally needed to be extracted. In this article I would like to dispel the negative mentality surrounding root canals. I will discuss why it is important to receive a root canal if needed, what patients can expect from the experience, as well as what advancements have been made in recent years to improve the root canal procedure. 

  1. Why are root canals performed? A root canal may be required if the living tissue inside the tooth develops bacteria from cavities, cracks caused by force, loss of bloody supply to the tooth, injury or trauma. If there is pain, it is usually caused by inflammation or infection. If the tissue dies from loss of blood supply, in all situations we must remove the infectious tissue to stop the inflammatory attack. This typically happens from an injury to the area or from a deep cavity. In a root canal procedure, providers access the chamber, debride dead tissue in the tooth, and eliminate the bacteria from the inflamed pulp. The inside of the tooth is carefully disinfected, filled, and sealed to prevent further issues and save the tooth. 
  2. Can there be complications with a root canal? A well performed root canal has great potential to predictably save teeth.  Complications can occur if the body detects any remaining bacteria, tissue debris, or injury to the root. If this is the case, the body may attack the tooth with an inflammatory response, resulting in a bacterial infection and an unsuccessful root canal. If this problem persists, it does not mean there is no hope to save the tooth. A tooth can be re-treated, re-debrided, and re-disinfected. In majority of incidences, retreating a root canaled tooth leads to success. If a tooth will not calm down with root canal procedures, the last thing that can be performed is an apicodectomy. A surgical procedure where we treat the tip of the root, by cutting off the tip and filling the canal from the root end. This is usually performed as a last stitch effort to save the tooth. The one problem a tooth may have that cannot be saved by root canal is a vertical root fracture. Unfortunately, the only treatment for this situation is extraction. However, these outcomes should not instill fear because root canals save teeth in majority of cases. 
  3. What about pain? The more infected a tooth is, the more uncomfortable the procedure will be. That is why it is imperative to seek treatment early before facial swelling begins or the tooth becomes highly painful or loose.   In the past, there have been less powerful anesthetics that were used, and long procedures requiring hand instruments. These were the predominant reasons as to why root canals have received a bad reputation. However, today endodontic procedures have really improved and patients are able to become completely numb during a root canal. A root canal also takes far less time than in the past, so patients can be in and out of the dental chair in no time. Post-procedure pain also should not be much of an issue, your dental provider will provide the resources necessary to allow for a smooth recovery.
  4. How has technology improved the root canal experience for patients? There are many new advancements that have improved root canal procedures. Digital X-rays have allowed for faster and more clear imaging on areas of concern in the mouth. Tools such as the apex locater have made the procedure smoother, faster, and more pristine by using ultrasonic frequencies to identify important factors needed for the procedure. Dentists are also no longer hand filing for root canals. They are using what is known as rotary endodontics. This tool cleans the bacteria from the tooth much more efficiently, opens the canals of the tooth wider which disinfects better and improves success rate. Dentists are also able to create stronger seals with heated gutta percia when completing root canals now, which can keep bacteria out for good. With all the advancements in dental technology, root canals have become a safer, quicker, and more comfortable experience for patients. 

Dentistry has come a long way in recent years, and with that, procedures that used to be tedious, time-consuming, and painful, have become more comfortable and effective for patients. Root canals do not need to make patients fearful anymore—they save teeth! If you are having symptoms of needing a root canal such as: hot or cold sensitivity, severe pain when chewing, pimples on gums, a chipped or cracked tooth, swollen or tender gums, deep decay, or darkening of gums, I urge you to seek treatment with the highly trained dental team at Pro Solutions Dental Group. Our office provides the tools and education necessary for patients to be advocates for their own oral health care. With proficient and proactive care, we strive to mitigate concerns early, which can prevent issues like needing more root canals in the future. With advanced technology and sedation options, we can provide a more comfortable experience for you during procedures like a root canal. We would love to schedule you for a consultation to meet our team and tour our state-of the art facility. Call us today at: 928-776-1208 to make an appointment or get a second opinion. Visit us online at: to view all our services! We cannot wait to welcome you to the Pro Solutions family!