Elmhurst Dentist Reviews Root Canal Therapy Treatment

Written by Dr. Scharfenberg on May 31, 2011

As a dental professional, I’ve seen firsthand how far people will go to avoid a root canal. Simply uttering the term can sometimes send people running for the hills! Our Elmhurst root canal dentists understand that the idea of a root canal can be pretty scary. However, we also know that the reality of root canal therapy is never as painful or frightening as patients imagine it to be.

Honestly, much of the fear associated with root canals is the result of misinformation and urban legends. Modern technology, especially sedation dentistry, has revolutionized root canal therapy—most of our patients report that their root canals were no more painful than having regular dental fillings. Unfortunately, the anxiety associated with root canals means that many patients avoid the treatment they need.

So what exactly is a root canal?

The inside of every tooth is filled with dental pulp—nerves, tissue, and blood vessels. This material is generally protected from bacteria by the exterior enamel and dentin of the tooth. However, sometimes the dental pulp becomes infected and inflamed. When the inside of the tooth begins to deteriorate, a dentist will perform root canal therapy—removing the infected dental pulp from the inside of a tooth, sanitizing the hollowed out space, and sealing the empty space with a filling.

Some patients avoid dental treatment because they experience extreme anxiety when considering root canal treatment. Consequently, the infection intensifies and becomes more serious. Left untreated, this infection can cause devastating complications such as:

• Abnormal swelling of the face and neck
• Dental deterioration, causing holes in dental enamel
• Loss of jawbone density and bone strength

Seeking effective treatment in a timely manner can help you avoid these long-term problems. Make sure to discuss your dental concerns with your dentist during your semi-annual check-up, and be on the lookout for these common signs of infection:

• Intense toothaches
• Tooth tenderness or pain when pressure is applied
• Tooth sensitivity and pain from hot or cold materials
• Gum tenderness or swelling
• Raised bumps on the gums
• A darkening, dull-looking tooth

Root canals are a necessary treatment for some patients. Although root canals may initially seem daunting, they do not need to be painful. The most important thing is to seek adequate treatment for dental infections, so that fear doesn’t negatively affect your overall health. Our Elmhurst root canal dentists are always happy to answer your questions and discuss your dental options in more detail, feel free to give us a call at (630) 733-1624.