Root canals have long been associated with pain, illness, and infection. In reality, root canal therapy is often a brief, pain-free procedure that can save a tooth from having to be extracted. Root canal treatments are generally recommended when a large cavity or injury damages the root of a tooth.
This often results in inflammation or infection, and occasionally pain and sensitivity as the tooth root dies. While root canal therapy certainly has its perks and downfalls, there remain many myths that surround this common procedure. Let’s debunk these myths.
1. Root Canal Treatment is Painful
One of the biggest fears among dental patients is that the root canal procedure itself is extremely painful. Pain typically occurs when a tooth is inflamed or infected, not by the root canal treatment itself. During the procedure, a local anesthetic is placed to numb the area, rending the procedure nearly pain-free.
2. Root Canal Treatment Causes Illnesses
Some people believe that having a root canal puts them at a higher risk for developing a wide range of illnesses and diseases, such as kidney disease and heart disease. This belief is simply not true. During the procedure, the dentist will use a combination of tools and techniques to safely disinfect the tooth to minimize your risk of related illness.
3. It’s Better to Have Your Tooth Pulled
While it may be cheaper to simply have your problem tooth extracted, it’s not better for your health or well-being. If possible, it’s always a better choice to try and save your natural teeth. While artificial teeth can be placed, they don’t offer the same level of function that your natural teeth do, limiting what you can eat.
4. There Is No Pain Once a Tooth is Removed
It’s true that sensitivities to cold and hot are eliminated once a root canal is performed. However, patients may continue to feel pain or discomfort for several days following the procedure due to inflammation around the tooth. To reduce inflammation during recovery, consult with your doctor about prescribing a medication to help with healing.
5. Root Canals are Not Needed If There is No Pain
Don’t have any tooth pain? This doesn’t mean that you don’t need a root canal. Your dentist may recommend a root canal if your tooth is in the early stages of severe decay. By undergoing root canal therapy early, you can skip the pain that you would likely have gone through once your tooth was infected.
Knowing the truth behind many common root canal therapy myths can help you make a more informed decision. For more information about root canals, contact your restorative dentist.