The Dreaded Root Canal

The beautiful end result is no more pain

A standard comedian’s punch line is to compare their worst nightmare to having a r-r-rroooot canal. Patients tell dentists the joke backwards: “I’d rather visit my ex-husband or go to my class reunion than get a root canal.” Root canal therapy is a much maligned dental procedure. Once the infected tooth is treated with antibiotics, the infection subsides, and a trained specialist performs the root canal therapy, the procedure usually goes quite smoothly. The beautiful end result is no more pain.

What is an infected Tooth?

Once decay hits the nerve, a “super infection” begins. And once the nerve is infected, bacteria creates a gas which causes pressure, throbbing, swelling and pain that makes you want to run to the dentist for help. A severe toothache is one of the most painful human events possible – and an event to be avoided at all costs.

The only Options

Save the tooth with root canal therapy. This therapy replaces the nerve with a substance that the body will accept.


Lose the tooth by surgical removal. Removal results in an empty space in the gums, which can cause the bite to collapse and can place stress on the remaining teeth.


There are times when teeth cannot be restored and must be extracted. When a tooth is too far gone with decay, is split down the middle, or has no bone support due to gum disease, it must be removed. Your best choice, whenever possible, is root canal therapy which will allow you to save the tooth.


After treatment, it will be necessary to crown the tooth to prevent further breakage. Because the tooth no longer has blood circulation, it will become dry and brittle. If your dentist determines that a root canal is necessary, he or she willperform the root canal procedure. If the root poses a problem or you are medically compromised, the dentist will refer you to an endodontist, a root canal specialist, specifically trained to relieve oral and facial pain and save natural teeth.

If it’s needed

Root canal therapy in a difficult tooth may be a difficult situation. You should always ask your dentist, “Can you handle this or would it be best to refer me to an endodontist?” Our recommendation? In a difficult case, we definitely would opt for an endodontist, a dentist who specializes in root canal therapy.

Original Article