June 8, 2019
One of the most feared dental procedures of all time is the dreaded root canal. But you’ll be relieved to know that much of the fear surrounding root canals is actually rooted (no pun intended) in the past. At one time, dentists simply didn’t have the same anesthetic options that we have today, nor was sedation widely used. Without being numbed, you can certainly see where root canals got their bad reputation! Thankfully, those days are long gone. Today, a root canal in Somerville is no more uncomfortable than getting a simple filling, and sedation is an additional option that’s perfect for anxious or fearful patients. Keep reading to learn more about how a root canal benefits you and what your choices for sedation are!
How Does a Root Canal Benefit You?
There’s nothing quite like your own natural teeth, and since you only get one adult set, it’s well worth it to save them whenever possible. The main benefit of a root canalis that it saves a tooth with severe damage from needing to be extracted.
To understand why root canals are necessary, it’s helpful to know some basic tooth anatomy:
- Enamel – This is the outer layer of a tooth and is the hardest substance in your body.
- Dentin– The middle layer is called dentin. It’s somewhat softer than enamel.
- Pulp– Pulp is the soft, innermost layer. It contains the nerves that run through the root canals and is where the tooth’s blood supply comes from.
When a tooth has been damaged by a cavity or fracture, a dentist always starts by evaluating how much of each layer has been affected. When the damage is relatively minor and has only affected the outer layers, the nerve remains healthy and intact. In these cases, a simple filling or crown can usually repair it.
However, if the damage is more severe and has reached the nerve in the center of the tooth, it’s probably caused an infection and/or severe pain. This is where a root canal comes in. It treats the infected nerve while preserving the rest of the tooth structure.
What Are Your Sedation Options?
It’s not uncommon to have lingering fear or anxiety over dental work, even with the reassurance that you’ll be numbed beforehand. For those patients, conscious sedation is a great choice because you’ll feel very calm and relaxed while still being awake and aware. There are two main options:
- Oral Sedation– In addition to calming you, this prescription medication also causes a mild amnesia effect, so you probably won’t remember much of your procedure afterward. The effects won’t wear off for several hours, so you need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.
- Nitrous Oxide– Also called “laughing gas”, you’ll breathe this odorless gas through a comfortable nosepiece during your visit. Since the effects wear off within minutes, you can drive yourself home after your appointment and resume your normal activities right away.
Good dental health is crucial for your quality of life. A root canal can help you have a healthier smile for many years, and with the help of modern anesthetic and sedation, is much easier than you may have thought!
About the Author
With nearly 20 years of experience as a dentist, Dr. DawnMarie DiGrazia has performed countless root canals. When necessary, she recommends this procedure to improve her patients’ oral health and offers multiple sedation options to make it comfortable for even the most fearful patients. If you have any question about root canals in Somerville, she can be contacted via her website.
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