Root canals have a reputation for being scary, but the truth is most root canals are simple and fairly painless. Patients generally feel a bit of discomfort and awkwardness during the procedure, but it’s coupled with tremendous relief once the dying nerves are removed through the root canal procedure. Root canal therapy is used to treat teeth that are infected or dead due to decay or injury. Infected teeth should be taken seriously – an untreated infection can turn deadly, spreading into your neck, brain or heart. Many people fear root canal therapy, associating the acute pain of their infection with the treatment it requires. In reality, modern root canal therapy is a generally easy procedure that, rather than causing pain, actually eliminates it by fixing the underlying problem and restoring an infected tooth to health.
Despite a common misperception, the root of your tooth remains intact after treatment. The dentist merely cleans the infected tissue out of the small canals within the root. In most cases, teeth that have had root canal therapy must be protected by a crown. Usually, the alternative to a root canal is to extract the tooth, thereby leaving a space in your mouth that needs to be replaced.