Let’s be honest, we all dread ever hearing the words, ‘you need a root canal.’ The thought of a root canal treatment makes most of us cringe. Unfortunately, this dental procedure has unnecessarily earned a bad reputation simply out of fear and the spread of misinformation. There are numerous root canal myths and misconceptions that have fueled these anxieties.
At Dental Bliss Hermitage, we offer root canals in Hermitage, TN, because we believe they have restorative benefits. Here, we debunk the most common root canal myths to show you the numerous benefits of this tooth-saving procedure.
What is a root canal?
Considered an endodontic treatment, a root canal is a restorative or emergency dental procedure. It is performed when there is an infection in the roots or pulp chamber. Usually, the tooth has been damaged or has significant delay that has led to the infection and inflammation. Tooth pain is often a sign of the problem; however, damage can be present in the absence of pain too.
During a root canal procedure, the dentist or endodontist uses special tools to enter the tooth. He removes the infected pulp before cleaning, disinfecting, and filling the tooth. In most cases, a protective crown is placed over the tooth after a root canal to restore its strength and to seal out bacteria. A temporary filling or crown may be used until a permanent crown can be placed.
Dispelling common root canal myths
Unfortunately, the idea of a root canal brings forth misconceptions and thoughts of pain. In actuality, a root canal saves the tooth and protects your oral health. Below, we will put to rest some of these myths by spreading truth and awareness instead.
Myth 1: Root canals are painful.
One of the most common misconceptions revolves around root canal pain. However, the pain stems from the infection, decay, and inflammation that are already present in the tooth. The actual procedure is as routine and painless as a cavity treatment.
When a root canal is performed, the goal is to relieve your pain, stop the damage, and protect your oral health. Your dentist uses x-rays to detect the exact location of the damage before entering the root of the tooth. The entire procedure is done using a local anesthetic to ensure patient comfort.
The procedure relieves the pressure and removes the diseased material which then allows the infection and inflammation to subside. Thus, your pain diminishes as well.
Myth 2: Root canal therapy causes cancer or disease.
Root canal therapy is a safe, effective treatment. It eliminates bacteria from the infected tooth. Once the bacteria is safely removed, the tooth is filled and sealed. There is no infection remaining in the mouth to make the patient ill.
The end result of an effective root canal procedure is improved oral and overall health.
According to the American Association of Endodontists, over 25 million root canals are performed annually. Each is done safely and effectively. There is no cause-and-effect relationship between root canal therapy and cancer. Following a root canal, patients are at no greater risk of getting cancer than they were prior to the procedure.
Myth 3: A tooth extraction is better than a root canal treatment.
The goal of dentistry is to preserve your oral health and to save your natural teeth whenever possible. Knowing this, a root canal is preferred over a tooth extraction.
When a tooth is extracted, the entire tooth (roots and all) are removed. At times, it is necessary to extract a tooth when it is damaged beyond repair. That is the only option to stop bacteria and damage from spreading. However, removing the tooth and roots opens the mouth to issues such as shifting teeth, gum disease, and bone loss.
A root canal saves the natural tooth. Since the roots remain and a crown is placed on top, the adjacent teeth cannot move. The tooth stays in position to protect the gums and your oral health.
Myth 4: Even with a root canal treatment, you will eventually lose the tooth.
Again, this is false. A root canal safely, effectively preserves the natural tooth. When the canals are cleansed, sterilized, and filled, bacteria is sealed out. Your tooth is restored and strengthened.
With a properly restored tooth, regular dental visits, and good oral hygiene, your natural tooth should last a lifetime.
Myth 5: If the tooth doesn’t hurt, you don’t need a root canal.
There are general misconceptions about dentistry. One is that you only need to see a dentist when there is a problem. Another is that your teeth and mouth must be healthy as long as you are not experiencing pain. These two things are untrue and have led to more severe, harder-to-fix oral health problems.
When a patient experiences pain, there is clearly a problem that cannot be ignored. However, the absence of pain does not mean there are no underlying problems. It just means that the decay and damage have not yet touched the most sensitive part of your tooth. That or you have a higher tolerance for discomfort.
Your dentist is specially trained to detect when the tooth’s pulp has been damaged or infected. This is one more reason it is so important to stay on top of routine care so that problems can be addressed swiftly.
Myth 6: Root canals require several trips to the dentist.
Not true! Root canal therapy is routine and straightforward. With today’s dental technologies, the entire procedure is generally done in one visit.
More than one appointment would only be necessary if a custom crown needs to be created by the laboratory before placement. Also, if a patient has extensive decay affecting more than one tooth, treatments may be broken into multiple appointments to ensure patient comfort.
Get a safe, effective root canal procedure in Hermitage, TN
Don’t let your dental fears and misconceptions stand in the way of your oral health. Stay on top of your regular dental visits and oral habits at home to keep your mouth healthy.
If you experience pain or notice swelling in the soft tissues around the tooth, contact your dentist right away. Treating problems early helps to ensure a positive outcome.
For additional information on root canals in Hermitage, TN, contact our office today. At Dental Bliss Hermitage, we use modern technology to ensure patient comfort, improved oral care, and a fast recovery process. Your oral care is our top priority!