In my early 20s, I had simultaneous root canal procedures on two lower molars. It was a long and involved process due to stubborn infection that developed in both teeth.
After countless visits to my dentist, the infection cleared and the dentist proceeded with treatment. I was left with two shiny crowns and a hefty bill. But all was well. I’d never have to deal with those particular teeth again since they were now dead.
Fast forward 30 years and I realized I had a lot to learn about root canals. I’ve always been under the impression this procedure kills the tooth, but last Saturday I discovered that’s not the case.
After dealing with persistent jaw pain I’d attributed to constant tooth grinding while I slept, along with intermittent swelling of the gum around one of the “dead” lower molars, I brought it to my dentist’s attention at my six month cleaning. During the check-up, I was also getting a crown on an upper tooth…thankfully, no root canal was necessary.
After the cleaning, the hygienist took an x-ray of the tooth with the swollen gum. Unfortunately, the news wasn’t good…there was an infection in the root.
“How could that be? The root was removed years ago,” I questioned.
It was then I learned the term “root canal” comes from the cleaning of the canals inside the tooth’s root. Small files are used to clear away the damaged and diseased pulp from the inside of the tooth. There’s no extraction of the actual root.
Obviously I didn’t. I’ve been referred to an endodontist to see if he’s able to save the tooth.
How do you feel about going to the dentist?
*Earlier this week, I went to the endodontist. I was diagnosed with a vertical root fracture. The tooth will be extracted and replaced with an implant.