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Root Canal - It's Not a Horror Story

Aug 17, 2007
You've heard it a thousand times: "I'd rather have a root canal than __" you fill in the blank. Root canals have gained one of the worst reputations on the planet and, believe it or not, it is much undeserved.

I worked for an Endodontist for eight years. That's a root canal specialist. I've talked to thousands of people with toothache and fear of root canals. The first question always asked is "Is it going to hurt?"

This is the scenario: your toothache hurts like the dickens. You've had an x-ray that reveals decay into the pulp of the tooth. You have two alternatives: get the tooth pulled or save it by having a root canal.

The root canal itself does not hurt, OK? Remember Novocain? No dentist or Endodontist is going to perform a root canal on you if you aren't numb first. It is a precision procedure. You have to be still and not move around in the dental chair. You must be numb to accomplish that.

It is not the root canal causing the pain. The problem that made you have to have a root canal is causing the pain. A root canal is the first step to alleviating the pain.

After your root canal there may be some discomfort, but it is a different or healing type pain. Most times, it is very mild and can be controlled with over the counter pain medications. In only 1% of the cases is it worse than before having the root canal.

So where did the bad reputation come from? Many people fear the dentist to start with and ignore the warning signs of a problem simply because they do not want to go to the dentist. The toothache, which most times is caused by decay, gets worse. It could be something as simple as a dull ache while drinking something hot or cold. It goes away and is ignored. But, one day, it doesn't go away. You bite down and get a shooting pain that seems to go on forever. Or you drink something cold which sends you through the roof. It's root canal time.

The key is to get the tooth fixed before it gets infected and swells your jaw to chipmunk proportions. See your dentist at the first sign of symptoms.

There are times, however, when it does sneak up on you seemingly without warning. You could have an unknown fracture in a tooth that widens all of a sudden when you chew. Ouch! You'll know it if that happens. Once that fracture reaches the inside nerve of your tooth, you will not be able to ignore the torment it can cause and will be more than happy to see your dentist or Endodontist at first available opportunity.

But see? A root canal is the solution to your toothache, not the cause of it. But, you already knew that, didn't you?
About the Author
Debbie Boynton has worked in dental field for eight years. Find more info at:
Toothache Help
Use this article on your website as long as this resource box is included and this article remains unchanged. ©2006 Debbie L Boynton
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