Like most dental patients, you likely shudder to think of the dreaded root canal treatment. The procedure, which has become something of a legend in dentistry, is often misunderstood. Dr. Corbet Locke, who treats root canals in Waco, TX, clears up some of the most popular misconceptions about the treatment and its effects. For starters, he encourages his patients to schedule regular professional cleanings and dental exams in his Waco dentist office, as these two steps will help immensely.

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

This question, which we often hear, is proof that the procedure is not fully understood. Actually, the treatment itself isn’t called a root canal, but rather a root canal treatment or root canal therapy. “Root canals” are the tiny tubules leading from the nerves within your teeth that cause pain and discomfort when the tooth becomes infected. An infection or abscess that has developed near the root can cause the tooth to die unless you seek treatment. Dr. Locke performs a visual examination of the tooth to determine how severe the damage is, and he may take x-rays, too. When the damage is too severe, he will recommend an extraction. Otherwise, he will perform a root canal treatment to salvage the tooth. After that, the tooth will most likely require restorative dentistry.

How Painful Is a Root Canal Treatment?

This is where root canals receive their unfair reputation. The abscess or infection itself is the primary source of pain, and can lead to stabbing sensations or a dull ache. As you can imagine, treating the infection will require applying pressure and coming into contact with the source of the pain. This, in turn, results in some discomfort.

Imagine for a minute that you have broken your forearm. Your surgeon cannot stabilize or set the fractured bone without actually touching your arm, but he must be able to apply the cast so the bone can heal. It isn’t the cast that hurts; it’s the break. You wouldn’t refuse treatment because you know that the problem will only become more painful and damaging. This is similar to root canal therapy. It isn’t the most pleasant experience, but it is necessary.

What If I Need Restorative Dentistry?

After Dr. Locke performs your root canal treatment, he will most likely use a porcelain crown to restore the damaged tooth. This protects the tooth from further decay, allowing you to eat and speak as you would with a full, healthy tooth. If Dr. Locke must extract the tooth, you may be a candidate for dental implants, a dental bridge, or partial dentures. Even if you lose only a single tooth, Dr. Locke recommends replacing it to avoid further problems.

Could root canal treatment help save your tooth? To learn more about treating root canals in Waco, TX, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Corbet Locke, please contact us at (254) 776-4888. Our office welcomes patients living in Waco, Hewitt, McGregor, Woodway, and nearby cities.