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What’s in a Name? The Commonly Misunderstood Root Canal Treatment

April 18, 2022
Posted By: Edward St Dental
Diagram of tooth with root canal infection

Our world is filled with misnomers or things with misleading names. For example, the oldest bridge in Paris is called Pont Neuf, which in French means ‘new bridge.’ English horns come from Poland and are in the woodwind family. More locally, koalas aren’t bears, king crabs aren’t crabs, and jellyfish aren’t fish. So, it’s no wonder people are confused when they hear the term ‘root canal’. Though root canal treatment is a common dental procedure, the popular perceptions about it are largely wrong. Even the name is inaccurate.

But what you should know about this treatment is that our Brisbane dental team uses it to save teeth, and not just any teeth. These are endangered and damaged ones that are otherwise on their way out the door. To keep your natural tooth where it belongs, Dr Pulvirenti uses the most modern tools and technologies to enhance the procedure. From high-quality diagnostics to leading-edge restorations like CEREC same-day ceramic crowns. Edward St Dental can help ensure your root canal therapy goes well.

What Is a Root Canal?

Technically speaking, a root canal is part of your anatomy, not a procedure. But, to understand it, you need a brief primer on the structure of your tooth. Each of your teeth is like a little turtle: hard on the outside, soft on the inside. And like a tortoise shell, the outer portion of your tooth is also a protective layer, composed of the hardest substance in the human body, tooth enamel.

But inside, your tooth has a large hollow cavity filled with soft tissue called the pulp, enriched with blood vessels and nerves. These connect to your body's circulatory and nervous systems via slender pathways in your tooth roots called canals; hence, root canal.

The Nasty Instigator of Root Canal Treatment

If you need root canal therapy, the underlying cause can be summed up in two words: deep infection. This starts with bacteria in your mouth that feeds on the remaining food after meals. When that food sticks to your teeth, bacteria grow on them in an ever-thickening layer. The problem comes from an acidic compound that is the waste product of bacteria and eats away at tooth enamel.

Several other factors may contribute to this tooth decay process, including:

  • Dental trauma
  • Tooth fracture
  • Failed previous dental treatment
  • Advanced gum disease, or periodontitis
  • Tooth grinding, or bruxism

Fast-forward enough time, and without treatment, bacteria penetrates your tooth enamel and begins to grow in your tooth’s pulp. As the infection spreads through your tooth pulp, it eventually reaches your root canals. By this point, the tissue and nerve irritation will become progressively painful, prompting you to seek relief.

Another Misconception about Root Canal Treatment

The chain of events described above is a common path to root canal treatment, with the prevalent end-stage being tooth pain. Unfortunately, this association has grown into another mistaken idea about root canal treatment and that the procedure is what causes so much pain. The truth is that root canal infection causes pain (and quite a lot of pain). Root canal treatment eliminates infection and relieves pain.

If it helps you visualise, we encourage you to think of it this way. Root canal infection is Thanos, and root canal therapy is Ironman. In addition, our team of professionals go above and beyond during your treatment to ensure that you’re comfortable. We use special techniques to ensure your teeth and gums are sufficiently numbed and modern tools to efficiently clean and seal your tooth roots against future infections.

Root Canal Treatment Costs

This treatment expense can be widely variable. It will depend on the tooth we treat and how many steps the procedure will require. For example, front-facing teeth usually have fewer root canals, sometimes only one. On the other hand, molars may contain numerous root canals that must be thoroughly cleaned. Dr Pulvirenti may diagnose cases that he will refer to a specialist to ensure the best chances of success.

If you have dental insurance, a portion of this treatment may be covered. But one thing is for sure. Root canal treatment will cost far less than the repercussions of failing to save the tooth. If your tooth takes its leave, you will need to replace it to prevent a whole host of adverse side effects from a missing tooth. Replacement options like dental implants, dental bridges or dentures can double or triple the expense.

Contact Us to Arrange Root Canal Treatment in Brisbane

At Edward St Dental, we know that what’s in a name is unimportant without understanding if the name is misleading you. Root canal treatment treats a deep tooth and root infection, relieving pain and saving the tooth.

If you’re looking for an emergency root canal dentist near me, we invite you to contact our Brisbane CBD dental clinic on (07) 3221 5855, so we can help resolve tooth pain and revive your healthy smile.