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How scared are you of root canals? what if we tell you. You no longer need to be?
Root canals are easily one of the most dreaded treatments in the world. I have seen patients compare the anxiety they feel before a root canal to things like open heart surgery and labour. The last thing you want to hear on a dental chair is the diagnosis that you need a root canal. The horror stories surrounding this dental treatment range from gruesome to excruciating.
This article is an attempt to dispel the mystery and pain associated with root canals and show you how far we have come from the horrors to the sophistication of the latest technology.
From painful to pleasing
What are root canals really?
In its simplest sense a root canal is a deep filling done by cleaning the infection from the third and innermost layer of the tooth which is made up of nerves and blood vessels.
Our tooth is made up of 3 layers the first 2 are hard and confined layers called enamel and dentin when decay affects these it is very slow to spread and easy to remove and fill within one short session.
The third layer may take 1-3 sessions to clean as the infection may have spread or collected in the supporting tooth structures.
Why are root canals considered painful?
The 3rd layer of our tooth is a nerve chamber containing soft nerves and blood vessels in communication with the rest of our body.
This is the place that communicates pain to our brain and this is why when decay or bacteria hit this soft deeper layer we experience sharp shooting pain.
Top 3 reasons why root canals used to be painful
Improper or inadequate anesthesia to numb the inflamed nerve
Mechanical instrumentation to manually pull out the nerve which we now dissolve and clean with automated machines
Lack of the right medications to use within the tooth.
What happens to root canal infections if left untreated?
If this pain is suppressed with medication and not treated it can lead to an infection spreading within the bone which may later lead to a swelling with pus etc.
If this infection is left within it can eat into the supporting bone and eventually infect or affect the adjacent teeth as well.
Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth and are designed to blend in with your other teeth. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past decades. Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.
Most patients find that a dental implant is secure, stable and a good replacement for their own tooth.
There are generally three phases to getting an implant:
• First, the dentist surgically places the implant into the jawbone. Your dentist may recommend a diet of soft foods, cold foods and warm soup during the healing process.
• Next, the bone around the implant heals in a process called osseointegration. What makes an implant so strong is that the bone actually grows around it and holds it in place. Osseointegration means “combines with the bone” and takes time. Some patients might need to wait until the implant is completely integrated, up to several months, before replacement teeth can be attached to the implant. Other patients can have the implants and replacement teeth placed all in one visit.
• Finally, it’s time for the placement of the artificial tooth/teeth. For a single tooth implant, your dentist will customize a new tooth for you, called a dental crown. The crown will be based on size, shape, color and fit, and will be designed to blend in with your other teeth. If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made bridges or dentures will be made to fit your mouth and your implants. The replacement teeth usually take some time to make. In the meantime, your dentist may give you a temporary crown, bridge or denture to help you eat and speak normally until the permanent replacement is ready.
If you are interested in dental implants, it's a good idea to discuss it carefully with your dentist first. If you are in good general health this treatment may be an option for you. In fact, your health is more of a factor than your age. You may be medically evaluated by a physician before any implant surgery is scheduled.
Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or leukemia, may interfere with healing after surgery. Patients with these issues may not be good candidates for implants. Using tobacco can also slow healing.