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Why You Shouldn't Delay Your Root Canal

Why You Shouldn't Delay Your Root Canal

If you mention the term “root canal,” most people shudder in horror. That’s because root canal procedures are (wrongly) associated with extreme pain. The procedure isn’t what causes the pain — it’s the infection, decay, and/or dying nerve in the canal that sent you running to the dentist in the first place.

At Riverdale Dental Arts, Dr. Sheldon Kupferman and his staff perform root canal procedures for their patients in the Bronx, New York, who need them. Understandably, many of those patients are nervous or hesitant about the procedure and drag their heels getting to the office. That’s why the team has put together this guide to root canals and root canal procedures, so you’ll understand you shouldn’t delay getting the problem addressed.

Tooth structure

You may think what you see is what you get when it comes to teeth, but it turns out that teeth have a number of different parts, all of which are important for your dental health.

The outer part above the gum line is called the crown, and it’s covered by a hard enamel shell. The part of the tooth below the gum line is called the root, and it’s covered by cementum, another hard substance. For root canals, though, what’s important is what lies beneath the outer shells.

Inside the tooth lies the pulp chamber, an area containing connective tissue, blood vessels, and the highly sensitive nerve. The root anchors the tooth in the jawbone, and within the structure are 1-3 canals, depending on the tooth. The canals extend from the upper pulp chamber down to the root tip in the jaw.

Normally, the enamel protects the pulp well. However, if it develops cracks or chips, they allow bacteria to enter the inner chamber, causing decay or infection in the tissue and irritating or inflaming the nerve.

If Dr. Kupferman removes the dying or dead nerve during a root canal procedure, it won’t impact your tooth’s overall function. However, the tooth structure becomes weaker and more prone to cracking and chipping. That’s why most dentists put a dental crown on top of the remaining tooth structure, to provide added support.

Why you shouldn’t delay your root canal

You may be nervous about your root canal because of its reputation for pain, but the procedure is one of the best things you can do for a seriously decayed or infected tooth with a dying nerve. And, really, the procedure won’t hurt a bit. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t worry.

A root canal relieves pain

As we’ve mentioned, the pain associated with a root canal actually develops as the nerve becomes inflamed or starts to die. This is the sharp, stabbing, unrelenting pain that led to your appointment. By removing the affected nerve, Dr. Kupferman removes the source of the pain, and you feel better.

For the procedure itself, Dr. Kupferman numbs your mouth fully; you may feel pressure as he works, but you definitely won’t feel pain. And when the anesthetic wears off, you’ll be a little tender in the area for a day or two, but then you’ll be pain-free.

A root canal preserves your natural tooth

Your tooth’s root does a lot more than hold the tooth in its proper position; it also stimulates the constant growth and resorption of bone tissue in the jaw. If Dr. Kupferman simply extracted your painful tooth, you’d not only have a gap in your smile, but you’d have nothing in place to stimulate the jaw, and it would allow other teeth to drift toward the hole. The root canal preserves your natural root, and thereby your jawbone’s integrity.

A root canal ensures infection doesn’t spread

Dr. Kupferman removes any infected pulp and nerve from your tooth, and he drains any abscesses (pus-filled pockets) at the root tip. The root canal procedure ensures the infection can’t spread beyond the tooth itself. 

A root canal makes future work easier

When the tooth’s nerve is removed, the root won’t be able to sense anything, especially pain. If you need further work in that area, that means you’ll need less anesthetic — or maybe none at all.

If you’re experiencing pain and sensitivity in one or more of your teeth, you need to come into Riverdale Dental Arts as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and perhaps a root canal procedure to alleviate the symptoms. 

To get started, call the office at 718-548-1148, or book an appointment online with us today.

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