Oh the dreaded root canal. The epitome of all dental pain and discomfort. Literally, the scariest procedure known to dental patients around the world.
There’s a good chance you think that root canal procedures are the scary bogeyman of the dental world. That you can expect to sit in the dentist’s chair, and surely be on the receiving end of some medieval-level torture that you would never wish upon your worst enemy. Fortunately for you (if you should ever require a root canal), they really aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and that’s a good thing! You see, root canal treatment got a bad rap. Not because it’s painful, uncomfortable, or bloody. But for one simple reason: local anesthetic.
Back in the day, root canals got a reputation for being a particularly painful procedure because local anesthesia was light years from where it is today. Today, all you’ll feel is a quick pin-prick and your dentist can all but guarantee that you’ll hardly feel a thing. On top of that, a lot of the discomfort from simply sitting in the chair and having your mouth worked on can be mitigated by wearing a blindfold, some headphones, and just trying to relax.
If you’re expecting to get a root canal and are curious about the process, you might be wondering why you need a dental crown after the procedure. First, let’s get back to basics. The very basic reason you need a root canal rests with the fact that your tooth has been damaged, and the tooth pulp has been injured in order to save the tooth. This can happen for a number of reason, ranging from damage to your tooth to infection. When your dentist performs the root canal treatment, the goal is to gain access to the tooth’s “insides” and clean out the dental pulp, removing any bacteria and infection on the inside. This is carefully done with a “dental file”. But once the procedure is completed, you’re left with a big gaping hole in the affected tooth.
Of course, your dentist won’t be leaving a hole in your tooth (because that’s basically a cavity, right?). So your dentist will use a brand new dental crown that fits perfectly over the structure of your tooth to give it added structure, a better appearance, greater strength and — most of all — coverage for the small hole that was just created to save your tooth by cleaning out the dental pulp.
Voila! You now have a tooth that is fully capable of serving you for years and years to come. Now you just need to take care of it.