Root Canals in Jonesboro

There aren’t many phrases that produce the same level of anxiety and dread as “you need a root canal.” We’re talking nails on the chalkboard reaction. Movies, stories, and woman smiling sitting in the dental chairurban legends all agree that roots canals are greater than, or at least equal to, most forms of torture.

Well, let’s set the record straight: Root canals don’t have to hurt. I know. Crazy talk, right? With the advancements in both numbing teeth and the procedure itself, “root canal” is no longer a dirty word.

What is a root canal?

Root canal therapy is a procedure done to remove all living tissue and bacteria from the pulp space within your tooth. Underneath the hard enamel and softer dentin layers of your tooth, there is a space filled with nerves and blood vessels. This tissue can get inflamed and/or infected, for many reasons, and cause you significant pain.

A root canal removes all this inflamed and infected tissue, sterilizes the empty space, and places filling material in the canal space to prevent future infection. Root canals can be challenging procedures due to the size and shape irregularities of the inside of teeth. Some may even require a referral to a root canal specialist for treatment. If we believe this to be necessary in your case, we’ll discuss the situation with you and provide our professional recommendation.

Why do I need a root canal?

A tooth needs a root canal if the nerve tissue (pulp) is either infected (abscessed), inflamed, or dead (necrotic). There are three common reasons that may cause this to occur:

  1. Tooth decay has reached the nerve – If a cavity that starts on the outside of the tooth grows long enough, it will reach the nerve. When it reaches the nerve, it will transfer the infection-causing bacteria to the pulp tissue and cause a dental abscess.
  2. Trauma from an accident – It is very common for a head injury that impacts the mouth to cut off or damage the blood/nerve supply to the tooth. In this case, the pulp tissue will either die or become infected. This does not always happen soon after the accident. Sometimes it can take years for symptoms to start. This type of trauma to the nerve will sometimes cause the tooth to turn a dark grayish color.
  3. Inflammation of the nerve from past dental work – Even a small filling is traumatic to your tooth. Any time we have to take an instrument and remove decayed or broken down tooth, it can cause damage to the tooth or nerve. This is why we work so hard to prevent all tooth decay. Sometimes routine dental work will cause the nerve to become irritated, which can lead to significant pain. The more severe the work, the more likely this is to happen.

diagram of tooth and root systemWhat can I expect from root canal treatment?

Expect to be pleasantly surprised! A root canal should not be a painful experience. To ensure the most comfortable experience possible, we use the best anesthetic available to numb your tooth for the procedure. After the anesthetic has been given, the rest of the root canal should never hurt.

Expect to feel better! Teeth that need root canal therapy are generally causing significant pain, and we intend to fix that. There will be some post-procedure discomfort, but the discomfort after the procedure is generally less than the pain you were experiencing from the damaged tooth. After the procedure, the tooth will be sore to bite on for a few days. Within a week, however, all discomfort will have passed, in most cases.

Expect to be back to normal! After the root canal, we will restore your tooth back to full strength to ensure it will last. Teeth that need a root canal are sometimes weak due to either a large cavity or a large original filling. Back teeth in need of a root canal will almost always also need a dental crown to support the force of chewing. In some cases, a front tooth can be restored back to full function with a bonded filling, depending on how large the cavity or original filling was.

Call Today for an Evaluation in Jonesboro

If you are in pain, don’t hesitate another minute. Call our Jonesboro dental office today to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Burris or Dr. Harmon. We’ll examine your tooth and provide a diagnosis and our treatment recommendation.