Did you know that more than 15 million root canals are completed each year? It’s true! So, if you’re struggling with a large cavity and require root canal therapy, you’re not alone. Even better, many of the myths surrounding this tooth-saving treatment are simply untrue, so you don’t have to feel worried or scared heading into your appointment. To further alleviate your concerns, here are the truths behind these common root canal myths.
Myth #1: Root Canals Are Painful
Perhaps one of the most prevalent myths, many patients are fearful of root canals because they’ve heard how painful they are. In reality, they are no more cumbersome than traditional fillings thanks to powerful numbing agents. Before beginning the procedure, your dentist will thoroughly numb your mouth and ensure you’re comfortable. From that point on, you should only feel some slight pressure from your dentist working. In the hours following your appointment, the numbing agent will begin to subside. If you feel any discomfort at this point, you can take over-the-counter pain medication as directed.
Myth #2: Root Canals Cause Illnesses
Another common myth about root canals is that they cause illnesses. This myth stems from a study that was conducted nearly a century ago. However, it was poorly designed and has been debunked several times. As a result, there is zero valid, scientific evidence that root canal therapy causes illnesses. In fact, the opposite is true. If you leave the tooth untreated, the infection can travel to your vital organs via your bloodstream, wreaking havoc on your overall health in the process.
Myth #3: Tooth Extractions Are Preferable to Root Canals
Think that tooth extractions are better than root canals? Think again! To begin, root canals mean that your tooth can be saved, which is always best. Tooth extractions are only necessary when the damage is so extensive that the tooth isn’t salvageable. In this case, it needs to be removed and replaced with a dental bridge, denture, or dental implant (depending on the condition of your oral health). So, it requires a larger investment when it comes to both time and money.
Myth #4: I Don’t Need a Root Canal If I’m Not in Pain
Pain is a common symptom of a tooth that needs root canal therapy. Of course, it isn’t the only one. That’s why it’s so important to visit your dentist every six months for a dental checkup and cleaning. These periodic appointments ensure that each tooth is regularly examined and treated before a root canal is necessary. Note: if your once painful toothache has subsided, you should still visit your dentist to discuss your treatment options.
Now you know the truth behind these common root canal myths! If you are unsure if what you’ve heard about this tooth-saving procedure is true, then don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist directly.
About the Practice
At Simply Dental and Orthodontics, we are proud to have an orthodontist (Dr. Nina Khedkar) and a general dentist (Dr. Oliver Carvalho) leading our team. In addition to completing an 18-month postdoctoral residency in oral surgery, Dr. Carvalho graduated with high honors from the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. He has completed advanced training on a wide range of topics, including endodontics, full mouth rehabilitation in advanced prosthodontics, and implantology. If you want to fact-check something you’ve heard about root canals or you’d like to schedule an appointment, then don’t hesitate to visit our website or call (508) 358-6300.