If your dentist or endodontist is recommending that you need a root canal, but you’re on the fence about safety, fear not. While some research shows that root canals may cause or put you at risk for bacteria, dentists continue to stand by the procedure that they feel is perfectly safe when properly performed. In fact, a root canal procedure is one of the more commonly performed dental procedures, so your dentist has plenty of experience in the books.
Let’s start with the basics. What is a root canal procedure? Essentially, when bacteria gets so far into your tooth that it can no longer be salvaged with a normal filling, your dentist might decide to recommend a root canal. During a root canal, all the nerves within your tooth are removed. Your tooth, now sans nerves, can be cleaned out to clear out the lingering infection. This obviously leaves your tooth pretty weak, as it is now a dead tooth.
After the first part of the root canal procedure is performed, and the nerves are removed all the way down to the root (where the procedure’s name comes from), the tooth must heal. After a two-week healing period, a porcelain crown is placed on your affected tooth. This will make it withstand chewing and eating, but it is now essentially an artificial tooth.
Dentists see it as an alternative to losing the tooth altogether, which would require significantly more attention. Pulling an infected tooth would leave the patient with a gaping hole where the tooth once resided and eventually will need an implant in order to continue life unencumbered. Tooth extractions end up costing a lot more money, more pain, and require a lot of time and detail to fabricate and fit an implant into the gap.
Critics of the root canal procedure will say that it has the potential for disaster, but it’s common knowledge that there are no 100 percent guarantees in life. While the success rates for several years after a root canal procedure are somewhere between 92-98 percent, there is still the chance of failure and the need for another procedure. As after a root canal your nerves are removed, this means that your blood supply and your body’s ability to fight off bacteria, is no longer present. Critics say this puts the affected area that could be harboring bacteria in jeopardy, as it is now vulnerable to such risks. This, among other obvious reasons, is why diligent oral care and hygiene are so very important.
Talk to your dentist about weighing the pros and cons of a root canal procedure today, and get checked out regularly and at any sign of tooth discomfort. If you live in or near Minneapolis-St. Paul, make an appointment to visit Dr. Steven Hagerman to discuss your dental options and procedures. Call for an appointment at (651) 646-2392.