A Dental Root Canal—3 Reasons Why A Patient Would Need One

root canalJust hearing the words “root canal” will give most people a chill up their spine. Even someone who has never had a dental procedure will begin to imagine all kinds of horrors when they hear those words. One reason why people feel this way is because of a bad experience they’ve had or heard about, but not all of them are because of the procedure itself.

Why do people need root canals in the first place? Are they really necessary?

3 Reasons Why a Root Canal Would Be Needed

While there have been some naysayers, there are times when a root canal is necessary. These include:

  1. Trauma. One of the main reasons why someone would need a root canal is because of trauma, most often because of an accident. They may have been hit in the face so hard that one or more of their teeth have fractured. Depending on the severity of the fracture, a root canal may be needed. Another form of trauma is when a tooth undergoes repeated dental procedures. With each procedure, more tooth structure has to be removed, particularly if there is decayed tooth structure that needs to be excavated. If a tooth needs repeated treatment, the nerve may eventually be exposed or inflamed, both of which will result in the need for root canal treatment.
  2. Decay. Tooth decay should be caught rather early, especially if a patient is on schedule with their dental examinations and x-rays. There are times, however, when a patient can’t see a dentist regularly. Dental decay will steadily progress and eventually reach the nerve of the tooth. Once the nerve is involved, a filling will not be sufficient—root canal treatment is needed.
  3. Cracked Tooth. A tooth can crack for a number of reasons. A patient may bite down hard on a piece of uncooked rice or a nut and crack a tooth, or they may clench and grind their teeth at night which can result in a cracked tooth, too. Another cause of a cracked tooth is a filling. A tooth that has decayed and been filled is weaker than a tooth that has never had decay. Over time, the force of chewing food on the tooth can weaken it and cause it to crack. Some cracks can be stabilized with a dental crown. At times, though, a crack can be so deep that it inflames the nerve of the tooth, in which case a root canal is needed.

Why Some People Have Had Bad Experiences

Root canals are a necessary part of life if we want to save our teeth from experienced trauma, deep decay or a deep crack. The experience of the procedure doesn’t have to be a bad one.

In the past, people have had bad experiences because they saw a dentist who wasn’t trained properly and wasn’t as gentle or as skilled as another dentist may have been. There have also been cases where someone has difficulty getting numb. Numbing agents have progressed over the years, as has root canal treatment techniques. A patient doesn’t have to endure a long, painful procedure if they have the right dentist who has the expertise and experience, as well as a gentle touch.

Consult Your Dental Professional with Any Concerns

Have you been told you will need a root canal soon? If so, no doubt you have some concerns. Talk to your dentist about those concerns and what to expect during and after the procedure. The more informed you are going into root canal treatment, the more at ease you will feel.