In Defense of the Root Canal

May 12, 2017

self-consciousWhen people brainstorm their favorite activities, root canals don’t generally make the list.

But while patients may not be spending their vacations getting root canals any time soon, the procedure’s reputation is improving. A recent survey by the American Association of Endodontists found that 54% of Americans are apprehensive about root canals, a decrease from 60% in 2013.

Root Canal Awareness Week is happening now, so we think it’s a fitting time to defend the root canal’s honor.

Are Root Canals Really That Bad?

It’s no secret that people hate root canals. Their stigma is even evident in popular culture. Finding Nemo references the procedure, and a New York Post review of an 80’s film is called “I’d rather have a root canal than rewatch this movie.”

In reality, the procedure is no big deal. It has a 95% success rate, and more than 15 million procedures are performed every year, 8 of which were for rapper Lil Wayne. Most patients are pleasantly surprised when the procedure isn’t nearly as painful as they expected. After the root canal is over, patients are relieved of their pain and pleased that their tooth is salvaged, as the alternative could be losing the tooth.

Do You Need a Root Canal?

During a root canal procedure, a dental professional takes away infected tissue from the innermost layer of your tooth. If you suspect you need a root canal, you should consult your dentists, but in the meantime, keep an eye out for these symptoms:

  • Tenderness in the gums surrounding a tooth
  • Discoloration of the tooth
  • A small bump on your gums near the tooth that hurts
  • Severe pain when pressure is placed on a tooth, such as while eating

If your case is particularly challenging, your dentist will refer you to our on-staff endodontist.

What is an Endodontist?

Dr. Chris HahnAn endodontist specializes in dental pulp, which is the root of your tooth where your blood vessels and nerves are. The pulp is located from the top of your tooth, all the way down into your gums.

Dental pulp allows you to feel stimuli on your teeth, like hot and cold temperatures.

At Colorado Dental Group, we have an in-house endodontist, Dr. Chris Hahn. To learn more about the procedure, visit our endodontist page.