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In 2012, a Siberian tiger named “Sayan,” from the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, had a toothache. A brave dentist who is specially trained to treat big cats helped Sayan with a root canal treatment!

While tigers are definitely scary, root canals are not. Root canals are still infamous today — but for no good reason. The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) says root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it. As with many other “emergency” dental procedures, patients mistakenly associate the painful experience of their oral ailment with the dental procedure itself.

So, what are root canals, exactly?

Each tooth in your mouth is a living thing that has blood vessels and nerves. If a tooth decays badly enough that a deep cavity forms, or if the tooth is cracked or broken, then the tissue inside the tooth (the pulp) can become infected. If the tooth becomes inflamed or diseased, then it begins to swell and this causes pain.

A damaged tooth can be kept or “saved” by using a root canal procedure, which is when the damaged tissue is removed and the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Removing the diseased pulp is what relieves the tooth pain.

A tooth could still develop cavities, even without its nerve, but if the patient practices effective dental hygiene, the repaired tooth can last a lifetime. So, if you ever need a root canal treatment, don’t be a “scaredy-cat.” Be a lionhearted tiger, and come and see us. We can help.