Root Canals Should Be Cheered, Not Feared
- Sep 16 2020
What can I do to get over my anxiety about having to have a root canal?
You would think that with all of the modern advances and innovations in dental care people would no longer dread going to the dentist. Of course, not everyone does. For many people, they make their appointment and barely give it another thought until time to go. They calmly sit in what is actually a pretty comfortable chair and listen to soothing music or maybe watch TV while their dentist or hygienist goes about the business of keeping their teeth and gums healthy and their smile bright and beautiful.
Unfortunately, for others, this experience is perceived quite differently. Just making the appointment is anxiety-provoking and keeping it a struggle. Dentophobia, also called odontophobia, is an extreme or irrational fear related to going to the dentist. The good news is that most people who are nervous about dental appointments do not have this level of anxiety and finding a dentist who makes them comfortable can go a long way toward mitigating their discomfort.
When it comes to root canals, however, even those who are normally fine with dental work will admit to a certain level of anxiety. This is partly due to the fact that, in the past, root canals were often painful and also because they have been used to epitomize pain. People often say that some experience was “as pleasant as a root canal”, meaning, of course, that it was actually extremely unpleasant or, more likely, painful.
Thinking of root canals this way is not only unfortunate, it’s truly ironic. With the technology that is used today, root canals are done with relatively little discomfort, no more than a simple filling. Where the irony comes in is that the root canal will, in all likelihood, be relieving the patient of what is typically a very painful condition.
Understanding How a Root Canal Is Done
For those who do have a fear of needing a root canal, it can help to understand how they are done.
When the interior of the tooth, the pulp located under the enamel and dentin, is infected, there is usually a great deal of pain. In order to stop the pain and, at the same time, save the tooth, your dentist will usually recommend a root canal.
First, you will be given local anesthesia that will totally numb the area surrounding the affected tooth, and then the tooth will be isolated and protected from infection with a dental dam. A small opening is then drilled so that the pulp can be accessed and removed. The interior cavity is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and finally filled with a rubbery substance called gutta-percha. Then the hole is sealed temporarily until the tooth is ready for a post/core and a crown.
Not only does the root canal take care of the pain that the patient is likely experiencing, it also saves the tooth. This makes the root canal procedure one that really should be cheered rather than feared.
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Categories: Root Canal