How a Root Canal Can Save a Decayed or Infected Tooth

A root canal is the last line of defense when it comes to saving a tooth that has been severely damaged by tooth decay. The procedure has a bad reputation since many think it is painful or scary.

However, the truth is there is little pain involved with a root canal. The procedure brings relief to excruciating toothaches, and the effects can be felt as soon as the procedure is over.

When a root canal is necessary

Dentists reserve root canal therapy for serious cases of tooth decay. Teeth are constantly exposed to acids in a person's mouth, and this can erode their enamel. If a person fails to take proper care of their teeth, the enamel will eventually become compromised. Once the enamel is worn down, cavities can form.

Cavities can be fixed with dental fillings, but they will continue to expand when left untreated. The cavity will eventually reach the nerve and the pulp of a tooth.

If the cavity reaches the pulp, the person will experience severe toothaches, especially when they eat. If treatment is not administered promptly, the pulp can be infected by the bacteria that live in the mouth. At this point, the person will experience excruciating pain that is simply impossible to ignore.

That is when the dentist will likely recommend a root canal. However, if the tooth is too damaged to save, the dentist might recommend an extraction.

What to expect during a root canal

The dentist will begin the procedure by administering a shot of anesthetic. This ensures the patient does not feel pain during the procedure. The dentist will then drill a hole into the affected tooth and use files to clean it out.

Once the tooth has been thoroughly cleaned, the dentist will apply medication to address any infection. A rubber-like material will seal the tooth.

The dentist will then use a crown to protect the newly repaired tooth.

The entire procedure takes a little over an hour. Patients are free to go about their daily activities once it is over. It is best to avoid chewing with the tooth that was repaired for a few days.

Why you should avoid extractions

Depending on the circumstances, the dentist might recommend an extraction instead of a root canal. It can be due to the tooth being too damaged or infected to save. A tooth infection can easily get into a person's bloodstream and reach other vital areas of the body like the brain and heart.

Extractions are cheaper than root canals at first glance, but that is if you do not factor in the cost of replacing the lost tooth.

When possible, opt for a root canal instead of extraction and save your natural tooth.

Do you think you need a root canal?

Talk to one of our dentists if you are dealing with a severely decayed or infected tooth. A root canal can reduce pain and protect your mouth from further harm.

Request an appointment here: or call White Flint Family Dental at (301) 273-1085 for an appointment in our Rockville office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Root Canal Treatment.

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