No doubt, root canals have a bad name. It’s among the most feared, dreaded dental procedures that causes undue stress for patients, young and old.
But should it? Should root canals be so highly feared that the very mention of the phrase, “root canal” causes your stomach to seize and your palms to sweat? We say absolutely not!
Root Canals Have a Bad Reputation
In truth, root canals are wrongly maligned. This therapy is the best way to save a tooth that is severely infected. Additionally, the procedure keeps many folks from having gaps in their smiles. Even so, patients may fear them simply because they’ve been told they should. (You’ve probably heard something to the tune of, “I’d rather have a root canal than spend the holidays with my in-laws.”)
We think this fear of the root canal is unwarranted and causes more dental anxiety than it should. That’s why we’re working to rehab the root canal’s image. Think of it as a brand refresh. Armed with these facts, you won’t be tempted to make assumptions when your dentist says, “I think you need a root canal.”
Read on to learn the most common myths about root canals and why they simply don’t hold up.
Myth 1. Root Canals are Painful
Sure, decades ago, root canals probably were painful. But modern dental medicine now helps us provide almost pain-free dental procedures. The combination of technical advances and anesthetics make the root canal experience much like getting a cavity filled. Your mouth will be numbed so you don’t experience pain during the root canal treatment. And if you feel anything, tell us! We never want our patients to be uncomfortable during treatment.
Myth 2. Pulling a Tooth is Better Than Having a Root Canal
Not at all. It’s always better to keep your natural teeth if possible. When you pull a tooth, you’ll have to replace it with a bridge or an implant. Otherwise, a host of problems could arise. These could include:
- Shifting teeth that lead to bite problems
- Problems chewing and speaking
- Bone loss in your jaw and face
- Lessened confidence due to gaps in your smile
The bottom line: saving a natural tooth is always the preferred option over a root canal.
Myth 3. Root canals cause illnesses and arthritis
Once upon a time, a dentist conducted a study that claimed root canal procedures allow infected tooth pulp to infiltrate the body, causing illnesses and arthritis. This was in the 1920s before the causes of many illnesses were fully understood. This particular study has been debunked many times over since then, and yet the myth persists. Trust us when we say there’s simply no scientific evidence to back up this claim.
Myth 4. Root canals require multiple visits
While this is not usually the case, we don’t want to make a blanket statement or say multiple visits are never required. However, most patients require only one or two appointments for root canal treatment.
Myth 5. Crowned teeth will require root canals
A crowned tooth would only require a root canal if an access develops or decay beneath the crown reaches the pulp of the tooth. Otherwise, there’s nothing about a crowned tooth that would make it require root canal therapy.
Myth 6. Root canals remove the tooth’s roots
Nothing could be further from the truth. During the root canal procedure, your endodontist will remove the infected pulp from inside the tooth and tooth’s roots. None of the tooth’s structure is removed.
Myth 7. Teeth with root canals will eventually need to be extracted
Again, we can’t definitively say you won’t lose the tooth following root canal therapy, but with the proper care, natural teeth — even those treated with a root canal — can last the rest of your life. Be sure to maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for cleanings.