A root canal is a common dental procedure. Root canal treatment may be performed to treat an infected tooth or to prevent a tooth from becoming infected in the first place. Over time the root canal earned a negative reputation, being used as a comparison to something long, grueling, or painful. But with modern technology in dentistry, a root canal is no more difficult to endure than a simple cavity filling.
There are many myths about root canals that have earned them this reputation, and we would like to dispel these myths so that patients can feel more comfortable with the idea of getting a root canal when needed. Here are 3 of the most common root canal myths debunked.
What is a Root Canal?
To understand the myths and truths about root canals, it helps to understand what a root canal is and what the procedure entails. The root canal is the term for the inner chamber of a tooth that contains the dental pulp, soft tissue containing blood vessels and nerves. Root canal treatment involves the removal of the dental pulp to eliminate or prevent infection. The root canal is then filled with composite material to fortify the tooth and prevent reinfection. In most cases a crown will be placed over the tooth to complete the procedure.
Myth #1: Root Canal Treatment is Painful
In the old days before the use of anesthesia for dental procedures, a root canal may have been painful. However, back in those days it was rare that any dentist had the knowledge to perform a root canal in the first place. The tooth would most likely have been pulled.
Today, with the advent of modern medicine and dentistry, local anesthesia can be used to numb the mouth before a root canal is performed. In addition to local anesthesia, sedation is also available to help you feel more relaxed and less aware of the procedure.
Myth #2: Root Canals Take a Long Time
A root canal doesn’t take as much time as it used to, meaning you can spend less time in the dental chair than in the past. Due to advancements in technology, a root canal procedure only takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete. This is about the same as a routine cavity filling.
In some cases when a root canal is more complicated, such as a large tooth with a complex root structure or a repeat root canal, the procedure could take as long as 90 minutes.
Myth #3: A Root Canal Can Make You Sick
Another myth about root canals is that the infection in your tooth can spread during the procedure and make you sick or cause you to be more likely to get sick in the future. This has been proven false with numerous studies. In some cases an antibiotic is applied directly to the tooth during the procedure. It is not necessary to take an oral antibiotic or anything else afterwards to avoid illness.
Is a Root Canal Worth It? Can’t I Just Have My Tooth Pulled?
Many patients request to have their tooth pulled rather than undergo a root canal. But having a tooth extracted rather than restored is rarely in your best interest if restoration is possible. By restoring the tooth with a root canal and crown, the natural root of the tooth can remain in place, providing natural appearance and function.
If the tooth is extracted it will need to be replaced to prevent your other teeth from shifting out of place and to allow you to chew effectively. Replacement teeth cost more than root canal treatment in most cases.
Don’t Fear a Root Canal With Eagle Endodontics
At Eagle Endodontics we make root canal treatment as quick and comfortable as possible. We understand that you may have concerns about the procedure, and we are happy to discuss your concerns and offer solutions to help you feel more comfortable. If restoring your tooth with a root canal is in your best interest, we highly recommend this course of treatment.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.