When it comes to dental care, many people are very self-conscious when it comes to their smiles. While we also understand the gravity and importance of good dental care and habits, most of us cringe at the thought of having to go to the dentist. One of the things that scare most people about the dentist is the horror stories that we hear about it. If we take the time to understand the procedures that the dentist may need to do, it may take some of the enigma out of going to the dentist. One of the most common confusions among dental procedures is the difference between a crown and a root canal.
A root canal can be painful however, if you need a root canal, chances are you have already been in a considerable amount of pain. Going through this procedure is going to alleviate the pain that you have been experiencing. A root canal is performed when a cavity has reached extensive levels. Extensive levels means that the decay has reached the pulp. The pulp is the area of the tooth where the nerves are located. In some cases, the nerve may even be exposed, which is extremely painful. This type of infection cannot be simply filled because it would not stop the infection from spreading.
Other reasons that a root canal may be performed are in the case of serious oral trauma. The root canal process itself is one that desensitizes the tooth. The nerves and pulp are removed. This is usually done over a couple of visits, up to four, but can also be performed in one session. This would depend on the particular situation. After the root canal is completed, the tooth will be brittle. At this point a post and crown will be needed.
A dental crown is placed on the tooth to protect the tooth after a root canal procedure. It can also be placed on the tooth if there is an extensive cavity that has not yet reached the pulp. In this case, the tooth will be ground down and an impression will be made of the remaining tooth. A temporary crown will be placed on the tooth to protect it from further infection or damage until the permanent crown is completed. Depending on the dentist, it can be just a few days to several weeks before the permanent crown is complete. The temporary will then be removed and the permanent crown will be affixed to the modified tooth. Again, a crowned tooth does not always require a root canal. In the case of a tooth that has not been root canaled, a post will not need to be installed. The primary function of the post is to strengthen the tooth before crowning.
Although the difference between a crown and root canal are obvious, these two procedures can be very closely related. If you have questions regarding the treatment that your dentist is recommending, ask them. They will be more than happy to explain.