With all the horror stories linked to root canals, it's easy to get uptight when your dentist tells you that you need this procedure. But thanks to advances in dental technology, root canals are much less painful than they were years ago. If you need a root canal procedure, here are some of the improvements in dental technology that make it less uncomfortable.
What is a Root Canal?
First, it helps to understand what's involved in a root canal and why this type of procedure is needed. Root canal treatments are done, either by general dentists or root canal specialists, called endodonists, to remove infected or inflamed pulp inside a tooth. After cleansing and shaping the interior of a channel inside a tooth root, a dentist fills the space and then seals it.
Digital X-rays Replacing Traditional X-rays
Many dentists are now using digital imaging, instead of traditional X-rays. Some of the benefits of digital imaging include:
- Less radiation exposure—Digital imaging reduces radiation exposure by 75 percent or even more.
- Less time sitting in a dental chair—Unlike traditional x-rays, the results of digital imaging can be seen immediately, which reduces the amount of time spent in a dental chair.
- Clearer and larger images—Digital images are significantly bigger than traditional X-rays, so they look clearer. As a result, patients are more prone to do what they're told regarding their procedure.
- Modern local anesthetics—They make tooth numbing easier so that you don't feel pain during your procedure.
- Sedation dentistry—If you have a phobia over dental procedures, there are several solutions. For example, your dentist could oral sedation, which involves taking a pill. Another option is using nitrous oxide, which is a gas that's given through the nose and exhaled through the mouth. The advantage is that a dentist can work on a patient's mouth without being interrupted.
Improved Lighting and Optics
- Operating microscopes—Thanks to dental operating microscopes, a surgical area can be magnified from 2.5 to as much as 32 times larger. Better magnification enables a dentist to differentiate between healthy and diseased so that infection is totally removed. A dentist can place a microscope lens directly over your mouth without causing any more discomfort.
- Specialized magnifying glasses—By wearing magnifying glasses that contain fiber optic lighting a dentist has an exceptionally clearer view while performing a root canal.
Smaller Surgical Tools
Because of improved lighting, dentists are able to use surgical tools that are considerably smaller than traditional equipment. This enables a dentist to see a root channel more clearly. As a result, incisions are smaller and contoured better. Therefore, healing is more aesthetic after a procedure.
Because of laser root canal therapy, a root canal can be thoroughly cleansed without having to use drills or hand files. Using a high-pressure water system and a laser, this process is effective in melting away infection, so there's less pain after a dental procedure. It also speeds up healing time and reduces the chance of any side effects.
If you're afraid of dental noises, consider that lasers don't create whining sounds or other irritating noises. About all you'll hear is a rush of air, created from air suction for keeping the area clean and cool. Thus, it's easier to relax during your root canal.
Endodonist vs. Regular Dentist
Endodonists are more likely to have the most advanced equipment, meaning a root canal may be less uncomfortable. They also have more experience. While these dental specialists do 25 root canals per week, regular dentists only perform about two root canal procedures a week. However, on a down note, endodonists generally charge much more than regular dentists do.
Today, you don't have to fear getting a root canal procedure. If you suspect you may need one, don't hesitate to see a dentist or endodonist.
For more information, check out companies such as Quality Dental Care.