Thanks to old wives’ tales and exaggerated stories shared by word of mouth and online, root canals remain one of the most feared and misunderstood dental procedures. In reality, endodontic treatment is an effective way to save a damaged tooth so that you can enjoy a natural smile for years to come. The following examines the truth behind some common misconceptions about root canal therapy.
Myth: Root canals are extremely painful.
Thanks to modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients find that a root canal causes no more discomfort than a standard filling. In fact, the procedure can provide almost immediate relief from the pain of a damaged tooth.
Myth: It is better to just pull a damaged tooth.
Saving a natural tooth is always preferable to extraction whenever feasible. Even with a bridge or implant, pulling a natural tooth can impact the stability and alignment of the remaining teeth, affect your ability to chew properly, and limit food choices.
Myth: Endodontically treated teeth do not last long.
Once the nerves and blood supply are removed, a tooth can become brittle and break under the strain of grinding or eating, especially if there is a large filling. That is why the tooth needs to be restored with a crown to give it the stability to withstand the force of chewing. Even with a root canal, it is possible for a tooth to last a lifetime when properly restored.
Myth: I do not need a root canal if my tooth does not hurt.
In certain circumstances, a tooth that is dead may require a root canal to reduce the risk of infection.
Myth: A root canal is a long process requiring multiple appointments.
Depending on the complexity of the procedure and the extent of any infection, the root canal itself can normally be completed in one to two appointments. Additional appointments are then needed to complete the restoration process.
Myth: Root canals increase the risk of heart disease and other illnesses.
This idea arose nearly a century ago based on information gathered by Dr. Weston Price. He theorized that bacteria trapped in the tooth caused a wide range of illnesses. In reality, a root canal can help reduce the bacteria in the mouth by preventing infection in a damaged tooth. The procedure is also less traumatic than extraction, which means that there is less risk of bacteria entering the blood stream.
From preventative cleanings to restorations and dental emergencies, Mesa Dental is a full-service family and cosmetic dental practice. Call today to schedule your consultation.