For many patients, even the mere mention of a root canal causes fear and anxiety. It doesn’t need to be this way! Decades ago, these treatments were painful, but with advancements in dentistry and local anesthetics people have little, if any, pain during a root canal procedure. In fact, it’s probably more painful to live with an infected tooth than it is to get a root canal. So why does this fear persist? We think it has something to do with all the misinformation about root canals that is out there. We decided to look at some common myths and help educate you about what a root canal really involves.
Root Canal Myths
MYTH 1: No Pain, So No Need
While it’s true that pain is a great indicator of an infection or that something is wrong with your tooth, everyone experiences pain differently. Some people think if they only have a little bit of pain, then there’s no need for a dental procedure. Let Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos know if you are experiencing any pain. They can examine your teeth for cracks or other signs of damage as well as take x-rays to determine if there is an infection in your tooth that requires a root canal.
MYTH 2: Root Canals Will Make You Sick
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet! Apparently a poorly designed research study from a century ago is still cited by some as a reason to avoid root canals. This long-debunked study conducted by Weston Price in the 1920s claimed that the toxins in infected teeth could cause diseases such as arthritis and cancer, however there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Don’t let rumors prevent you from getting the oral care you need.
MYTH 3: Root Canals Need to Be Redone Often
Some people think that once they receive a root canal, they will need to have repeat procedures in the future to maintain the tooth. Preserving your natural tooth is always the best option and root canals have a high-success rate. Follow your regular oral health care regimen of brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos for regular check-ups. With this proper care, your restored tooth will last a lifetime!
What is a Root Canal?
Now that we’ve dispelled some misinformation, let’s return to the basics. A root canal is a treatment to repair and save a damaged or infected tooth. It is an alternative to removing the tooth, which would then require an implant or bridge. Teeth have a soft substance at their core called ‘pulp’ which contains nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. When a tooth gets a cavity or a crack, bacteria can get into the pulp and cause pain in the tooth. Symptoms of this occurring may include swelling, pain, and temperature sensitivity.
The procedure may take one or two visits and involves removing the infected pulp and cleaning the root cavity. Once the tooth core and root have been cleaned, it will be filled and then sealed. We may determine that you also need a crown to further protect the tooth if it has been severely damaged. In some cases, a metal post inserted into the tooth may also be needed to help secure the crown. At FDA, we offer oral sedation for patients, which helps make the root canal procedure as easy and stress-free as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns about root canals or the general health of your teeth, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 207.781.5900. Our goal is to give you the best oral care possible and we always want you to feel comfortable and informed about all the procedures you may need while in our care.
*Image courtesy of shutterstock.com