Dentistry/root canal

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Question
So yesterday I went to the dentist to have a check up and on my front tooth inside my gums the dentist said I have an infection so he wants to do a root canal on my right front tooth n the little right next to it, I'm kinda scared because my teeth are ok but why does he want to do a root canal? How Will that take away my infection inside my gums? The infection is right in my gums kind of by my nose, n if he does a root canal will my teeth change color?  I'm scared.. is there any other way to take away the infection?

Answer
Hi Theresa,

I can certainly understand you being scared if this is your first root canal. I think most patients who come to our office are fearful too because of all the bad press root canals get. I also think that almost all say it was pretty darn easy once they have been through it. I very small percent do have problems because we are often dealing with an infection, but that is definitely a very small percent. Now to answer your questions....

If you do, in fact, have an infection in your gums, you only have 3 choices,1.live with the infection (not a good idea), 2. extract the tooth (also not a good choice because then you need to deal with replacing it), 3. get a root canal. When you look at your options, a root canal makes the most sense and that is why your dentist is suggesting that treatment.

When a root canal is done, it removes the dead material on the inside of the tooth and replaces it with an inert filling. When this is done, your body can heal the area at the end of the root because the dead material won't be leaking out the end of the tooth anymore, so this will take away the infection.

In almost all cases, there is no color change but even if there is, it is possible to bleach the tooth to get it closer to the original color. You will need to wait until after treatment to make that decision, but if your tooth looks like the others now, there will probably be no color change.

I would also refer you to our web site, www.aae.org ,which has a good explanation of root canals with diagram and loaded with information for patients.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD

Dentistry

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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD

Expertise

I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.

Experience

25 years practicing as a specialist

Organizations
American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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