The words "root canal" can strike fear into the heart of the toughest people you can imagine. However, your dentists in Mt. Pleasant, MI, Dr. Keith Bever and Dr. Lauryne Vanderhoof, want to make sure their patients understand that root canals are nothing to fear and can actually help relieve your pain. In this article, we'll discuss why you might need a root canal and what signs may prompt Dr. Bever or Dr. Vanderhoof to schedule you for one.
What's the purpose of a root canal?
As we mentioned above, many dental patients experience a feeling of dread upon learning that they need a root canal. However, studies have shown that the majority of people who fear root canals haven't actually had one and aren't quite sure what's involved with them. Another, perhaps less foreboding name for root canals is "endodontic therapy," which helps explain their purpose: to clear up problems inside ("endo-") a damaged tooth ("-dontic"). Each tooth contains soft tissues, nerves, and blood vessels, which can become infected when decay or trauma breaches the outer enamel. A root canal from your Mt. Pleasant dentist essentially "cleans" the inside of the affected tooth, replacing the infected structures with a rubber material that keeps the hollowed-out tooth stable and functional. A crown on top finishes the procedure.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
The only way to know for sure if you need a root canal is by making an appointment with your Mt. Pleasant dentist for an examination and X-rays. However, there are some signs that a root canal may be necessary. Many patients report a sensitivity in the area of the affected tooth; this is usually due to exposing the nerves inside to a hot or cold stimulus such as soup or ice cream. The enamel normally protects the nerves from outer temperature changes. You may also experience an ongoing toothache, particularly while biting down. This is especially true if you've had a tooth break.
For any dental problems you may be experiencing, or to schedule a checkup, contact your dental team of Dr. Bever and Dr. Vanderhoof in Mt. Pleasant, MI, today!