Why Root Canals Are Nothing to Fear

Dental decay is a common oral health problem among people of all ages in the United States. In fact, about 40% of children, 60% of adolescents, and 90% of adults in the US have had at least one cavity, and at least 1 in 5 Americans is living with untreated tooth decay at any given time. 

Untreated tooth decay is problematic because it can spread from your enamel to the soft pulpy tissues inside your tooth, causing the kind of deep decay that may lead to a painful abscess or even tooth loss. 

That’s where root canal therapy comes in. Here at Smiles in Springfield in Springfield, Virginia, this routine treatment doesn’t cause oral pain — it resolves oral pain, provides lasting relief, and helps save your natural tooth. Here’s how it works. 

Root canal basics

Endodontic dental care addresses any condition or problem that affects the soft tissues and structures inside your teeth. As one of the most commonly performed endodontic treatments, a root canal removes damaging decay and treats painful infection and inflammation within a tooth’s pulpy interior. 

The overriding goal of a root canal is to eradicate deep decay before it destroys your tooth. To put it another way, a root canal aims to restore your natural tooth and keep it where it belongs: in your mouth. 

In the US, root canal therapy saves more than 41,000 deeply decayed teeth every single day, and some 25 million teeth each year. 

Root canal treatment

To understand how a root canal procedure works, it helps to know a bit about the structure of your teeth. Every tooth has an outer protective layer (enamel), an inner protective layer (dentin), and a soft center (pulp).  

This pulpy interior extends from the crown of your tooth to the tips of its roots, where it joins the surrounding jawbone tissues. It contains blood vessels and nerves that help form strong dentin and enamel layers during the early stages of tooth development.

Once a tooth is mature, it stops drawing nutrients from its pulp and begins pulling them in from the surrounding jawbone tissues. For this reason, a mature tooth can survive without its pulp. 

When decay and inflammation affect the pulp of one of your teeth, removing the problematic pulp can help you resolve infection, relieve pain, preserve your natural tooth, and restore oral health. 

While there’s a widespread misconception that root canal therapy is uncomfortable or even painful, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, as is the case with most invasive dental treatments, the area is kept comfortably numb with a local anesthetic. 

The treatment itself is similar in many ways to a routine cavity removal and dental filling. First, Dr. Quang Tran makes a small opening on the bite surface of the affected tooth. Next, he uses special tools to remove the decayed pulp. Finally, after cleaning and shaping the empty chamber, he fills and seals the space. 

An extensive root canal that treats severe decay is often finished with a porcelain crown to help ensure full strength and functionality. For your convenience, Dr. Tran provides same-day crown restorations made with advanced in-house CEREC® technology.   

Root canal benefits

When it comes to resolving deep decay, protecting your oral health, and preserving your smile, nothing compares with root canal therapy. What’s more, this tooth-saving treatment also prevents infection from spreading to nearby tissues — or even into your bloodstream. 

If you’re worried that root canal therapy will be painful because it goes slightly deeper than the average filling, just remember — local anesthesia ensures a comfortable, pain-free experience from start to finish, and once the procedure is complete, you’ll no longer have to live with a tender jaw, a throbbing toothache, or painfully swollen gums.  

If you suspect you need a root canal, we’re ready to help. Call our Springfield, Virginia, office at 703-634-4239 to schedule a visit with Dr. Tran today. You can also send a message to Dr. Tran and the team here on our website. 

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