Getting to the Root of the Problem: Understanding Root Canals

Getting to the Root of the Problem: Understanding Root Canals
By Dr. Tim Reilly

Oral health is as important to a human body as maintaining good physical health. It is not only about a healthy smile, but also about maintaining good oral hygiene. However, the circumstances are not always ideal for all of us and sometimes infections occur within a tooth.

Infections occur when the soft part within the tooth, known as Pulp, becomes damaged. The pulp contains blood vessels, tissues and nerves inside it and when it gets damaged, it ceases to function and dies leading to inflammation and ultimately infection. The damage could be caused by a cavity, a slow decay, or a trauma to the tooth. Once a nerve dies within the tooth you have two choices: extract, or save with a root canal and crown. Saving the tooth is always the first choice. In fact, the largest benefit of a root canal treatment is that– it will save your tooth! Root canal treatments have up to a 97% success rate.

Regular dental appointments and check-ups go a longer way than most of us think. The tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself. Sometimes, a person doesn’t know they have infection in their tooth until it is detected with x-ray; other times it may be very painful, swollen and can cause serious health problems. If you wait until you’re aware of discomfort in your tooth, unfortunately, you waited too long and may end up needing a root canal.

There are many misconceptions surrounding the root canal treatment/procedure and whether patients experience root canal pain. Here is the truth; root canal procedure/treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it. The pain is caused by the damage within the tooth; the root canal procedure is relatively painless and is done to eliminate the pain as well as the infection.

During the procedure, the damaged pulp inside the tooth is removed and the nerve canal is thoroughly cleaned before filling the tooth with a safe, non-toxic bio-compatible compound, and then the tooth is sealed for preservation. Even though the damaged pulp has been removed, the tooth is not dead as it still gets a blood supply from the periodontal nerve and the bone structure supporting the tooth will not be lost.
For more information about the root canal procedure, contact Dr. Reilly, where you will be provided with the best knowledge and advice. We look forward to helping you maintain your oral health and a smile that comes from the inside out!

Dr. Tim Reilly

Dr. Tim Reilly graduated from U of D Mercy in 1996, with his undergraduate from Eastern Michigan University. His Bloomfield Hills practice of 19 years focuses on family, cosmetic, and implant dentistry with a holistic approach. He has helped many patients become mercury free, using a conservative approach, as well as digital x-rays for minimal radiation. Schedule your FREE consultation by calling: 248-642-4484.You can visit Dr. Reilly’s website: to view before and after pictures of smiles that radiate!

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One Response to Getting to the Root of the Problem: Understanding Root Canals

  1. Derek Mcdoogle September 13, 2016 at 7:32 PM

    You mentioned that saving the tooth is always the first choice and the largest benefit of a root canal treatment is that it will save your tooth with a 97% success rate. Do all dentists try and use this method as opposed to just taking out the whole tooth? My brother started complaining about some pain in his tooth at our ice cream party last night. Going to see a dentist could be the best thing for him.


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