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Painful Root Canals Are a Thing of the Past
Date:11/12/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- You're visiting the dentist for what you think is a routine checkup and cleaning when he or she says you need a root canal. Though it's a term you've probably heard before, now that you're the one in the chair, you may have several questions and feel apprehensive about your upcoming procedure.

Patients have unnecessarily feared root canals for quite some time. The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) wants to help answer patients' questions and alleviate any anxiety the public may have surrounding this common procedure that is performed nearly 15 million times each year.

Root canal treatment is needed when a cavity gets too deep and infects the pulp, the soft tissue comprised of nerves, blood vessels and connective, fibrous tissue. During a root canal, an endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems of the pulp) or general dentist drills out the cavity, just like when you have a cavity removed and filled. Only this time, he or she drills into the hollow center of the tooth and uses a special drill to remove the diseased pulp tissue. Once the pulp tissue is removed, the hollow spaces are then filled with a cement and plastic mixture used to seal and prevent future root infections. Left untreated, tooth decay, damage to the bone around the teeth, pain, swelling and even tooth loss can occur.

"It is very important to have a permanent filling and sometimes a crown placed over a tooth with recent root canal treatment," said Dr. Bruce Terry, a PDA member and endodontist from Wayne. "If the tooth is not properly restored, it will get reinfected and the root canal treatment will have to be repeated."

Most people fear that root canal treatment is painful, however, due to modern advances in dental technology, painful root canals are now a thing of the past. Dentists use lidocaine (a local anesthetic) to numb the area and help minimize any discomfort. Today's rota
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Dental Association
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