Female Dentist Examining Patient

Debunking the Most Common Myths About Root Canals

We’ve all heard about the dreaded root canal.

Chances are, you know someone who knows someone who said their experience was agonizing and that they’d rather experience anything else but another root canal.

But is it really that bad?
Is there any truth behind the myths?

Myth #1: They’re the most painful things you’ll ever experience and you should avoid them at all costs

Since the whole procedure is designed to reduce pain, it would be pointless for your dentist to recommend a treatment that they know will bring you more pain.

Having a root canal shouldn’t be scary, but it’s understandable that some people might feel that way. Before dentistry advanced to where it is now, it was common to experience a significant amount of discomfort. Now that discomfort is a thing of the past.

Thanks to advancements in anesthesia over the last couple decades, the vast majority of today’s root canal treatments are relatively comfortable procedures. Any cases involving extensive methods of anesthesia are usually a result of treatment being delayed.

Myth #2: You only need a root canal when there is pain

The bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease can develop under an old filling that’s no longer functional. New decay or cavities can develop and fester deep within a tooth and up into the nerve. In some cases, any pain subsides over time, even without treatment.

But that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.

Unfortunately where there was pain, there was likely a problem. Even if your tooth feels better, it is a good idea to have your dentist check on the cause. If not, bacteria can invade the nerve canal or even the bone deep below the tip of your roots without causing pain, swelling, or any other symptoms that would cause you to alert your dentist.

Early detection is crucial. Even if your dentist can’t prevent you from needing a root canal, the earlier you begin to treat your problem, the better your chances are for a comfortable procedure and a healthy outcome.

Delaying dental care because you’re not in pain means that you could end up paying more and having to undergo more extensive treatment.

Myth #3: A root canal involves removing the whole root of the tooth

Not quite.

Inside each root, there are spaces or “canals” where your tooth’s nerve and central blood supply are stored. During a root canal, your dentist will numb your tooth the same way they would when placing a filling. The nerve and central blood supply are removed and the canal is sealed. Your tooth still has blood supply coming in from all around the root surfaces, along with thousands of tiny ligaments that hold the tooth in place.

If you’re still unsure about getting a root canal, reach out to Dr. Andrea Stevens. She and her team can give you the facts you need to make an informed decision.

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