Tackling Some Myths About Root Canals
“You need a root canal,” your dentist tells you.
How do you feel?
We’ve seen all of these reactions when we’ve shared this news with our patients. It’s understandable given how many myths exist about root canal treatments. Today, our team at Galleria of Smiles wants to try to tackle those myths and explain why a root canal can be good for your long-term oral health.
Myth: Root canals hurt.
Truth: Root canals end painful tooth infections.
We can’t tell you how many people are convinced that their root canal treatment will be painful — more painful than the pain that brought them to our dentist office in the first place.
They may have heard a story from someone else who had a root canal years ago. They may have seen a movie that showed someone having a bad experience for the sake of the story.
In reality, having a root canal at a modern dentist office like Galleria of Smiles is no worse than have a dental filling. More importantly, a root canal can save you from the pain you may already be going through.
The reason we perform root canals is to save teeth and end our patients’ pain. An infected tooth can cause lingering toothaches. It can make it painful to bite or chew. It can make your tooth hurt if you eat or drink something that is cold, hot, or sweet.
And the longer the infection remains, the more it can spread. It may cause swelling and soreness of soft tissue as well.
If you have a root canal at our office, we will do everything we can to make your treatment as pain-free as possible. Many patients take advantage of our sedation dentistry so they don’t feel a thing.
In the days after your treatment, you should notice that the pain from your infected tooth gradually goes away.
Myth: Root canals can make you sick.
Truth: Removing a tooth is more likely to cause a problem.
Believe it or not, this myth goes back to the 1920s … before people understood as much as we do today about the causes of illnesses. A single dentist promoted this idea, which has taken on new life in some corners of the Internet.
By the early 1930s, enough research had been done to debunk this idea. Even so, more studies were conducted, and in 1951, the Journal of The American Dental Association took an extraordinary step. JADA printed a special edition to clarify what scientific research has confirmed: root canals pose little risk of illness.
Myth: It’s better to remove the tooth.
Truth: It’s better to save your tooth whenever possible.
This myth is closely related to the previous one. The same dentist who mistakenly opposed root canals also promoted the idea that tooth extraction was a better alternative.
The irony is that tooth extraction, which is a more traumatic treatment than a root canal, is more likely to lead to an illness. (With that said, we don’t want you to worry if you do need a tooth removed. With modern techniques, we have greatly reduced that risk.)
By getting a root canal, you are preserving as much of the natural tooth as you can. This is a good for your oral health and good for the function of your teeth.
During your root canal procedure, we are removing the infected pulp inside your tooth as well as nerve and blood vessels. The tooth is filled with a special material that helps it maintain its shape.
The final step is sealing the tooth, often with a dental crown, which helps to protect against another infection, restores the appearance of your smile, and brings back your ability to bite and chew without pain.
Truth: It’s better to prevent a tooth infection.
While root canals can be a great way to restore and preserve your oral health, it’s still better if you can avoid one. To do that, you must have good oral habits.
This is why the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day and flossing daily. It’s also why you should schedule regular dental cleanings and exams at Galleria of Smiles.