Root Canal – When

The words “root canal” can strike fear into the hearts of mortal men. With modern techniques, most root canals can be performed with little or no pain. The first concern is proper diagnosis. No one wants to undergo root canal treatment – painless or not – only to find out that it was unnecessary. Some types of tooth pain can be reversible without resorting to a root canal. Removing decay and placing a sedative filling will sometimes do the trick. If there is pain along the “gum line”, the dentist can apply a desensitizer to the root to see if the condition improves. When one goes to the dentist with a toothache, it is not unusual for the culprit to be another tooth. This is called referred pain and it’s very important that the dentist performs a number of tests to determine the exact source. It is extremely important that the patient doesn’t take any kind of analgesic, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol, before an appointment. This can mask the symptoms and skew the diagnostic tests that the dentist performs. Another possibility is that the pain could be coming from something other than a tooth. During spring and fall, it is very common here in Atlanta for patients to appear in my office with “toothaches” only to find out that it was sinusitis. Taking adequate time during the diagnostic phase can save much time, money, and discomfort by getting it right the first time.