CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) A root canal can be one of the most dreaded dental procedures, but it’s also one of the most common.
More than 15 million root canals will be performed a year.
And while most people fear the procedure, dental specialist say it doesn't have to be a painful experience.
Endodontists specialize in root canals and they want people to know the procedure actually saves teeth that would otherwise have to be pulled.
Endodontist say root canals are important to do once a tooth is injured, cracked, or decaying.
The endodontist or dentist will open the tooth and clean out the infected tissue in the center, then the remaining space is filled and sealed.
Endodontist say some common signs of a patient needing a root canal is pain.
"Wake them up at night or it can be a discomfort or they can have swelling and typically they can mask as an ear infection or a nose ache or sinus trouble, but really if you come in and see an endodontist, we are able to figure out which tooth that is, fix that for the patient." says Dr. Derek Peek with the Eastern Iowa Endodontics.
Dr. Peek's office also uses new technology called a CBCT machine.
It actually creates a 3-D model of a patient's teeth from several x-rays and images to give dentists more insight into the problem.
“Imagine a pool ball, the size of the pool ball, we can put that pool ball anywhere and take a 3-D volume and really kind of show that patient in a 3-D volume and as a practitioner we can actually see the specific anatomy of the tooth,” says Dr. Peek.
Dentists say root canals are important because if left untreated, the infection can get worst and the tooth may actually have to be pulled.
Dr. Peek also says that their office is the only private endodontic practice in the entire state of Iowa that does root canals for those on Medicaid and the Dental Wellness Plan.
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