Let’s Get to the Root…of Root Canals: 3 Root Canal Myths

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

Lost a Tooth? Don’t Call the Tooth Fairy Yet!

Losing a tooth is an exciting rite-of-passage when you are young, but as an adult it is a cause for concern.  It is also common: most adults will lose teeth to decay, gum disease or injury. Losing teeth not only affects your smile but also impacts your bite and your jawbone. Fortunately, there are options!  Here at Falmouth Dental Arts, we can address tooth loss with a dental implant or with bridges. We aim to make every process as comfortable and safe as possible, and we will help you to determine which choice is right for you.  Here is some more general information about these two options.


The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends implants as the standard replacement for missing teeth.  Implants look and feel like natural teeth and are designed to last a lifetime. However, you do need a healthy jawbone and soft tissue to be a candidate for dental implants.

If an implant is right for you, the first step is to place a titanium implant in your jaw.  The implant replaces your tooth root and will naturally fuse to your jawbone over the course of several weeks.  Once that is firmly in place, a titanium post will be added to serve as an anchor for a crown.


A bridge is a good option for replacing a few teeth.  It involves fusing artificial teeth to a metal frame. The frame is then cemented to supports, which are either implants or healthy teeth covered with crowns.  There are limits, however, to how many teeth a bridge can replace. Generally, a bridge is a less-invasive procedure but does not last as long as an implant. The average life of a bridge is 10 years.

The Future

There is also an exciting third option on the horizon!  Researchers have found a way to grow teeth from dental tissue stem cells.  We will delve in to this possibility in our next blog post…stay tuned!

As always, the best way to prevent tooth loss is to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly.  However, tooth loss happens. If you have lost a tooth or have concerns about your teeth, please give us a call at 207.781.5900.  We are happy to discuss your options as we truly believe that having healthy teeth is an integral part of comprehensive health care.  



*Image courtesy of www.health.harvard.edu

All About Sealants

At any dentist’s office, you hear all about a number of different procedures done on teeth. Some of the more common ones include fillings and sealants. You probably first heard the word “sealant” in the dentist’s chair when you were a kid, but probably didn’t fully understand what it meant. Here is a quick review of everything you need to know about them!

Sealants can offer an additional level of protection for your teeth. A great “safety net” for those hard to reach areas when brushing, sealants provide peace of mind for any patient. While there is no suitable alternative to brushing and flossing, sealants are great for anyone who might be inconsistent with their brushing, especially children and teens.

What is a sealant? Think of it as a raincoat for your teeth! It’s a thin, plastic coating placed on the chewing surfaces of teeth—usually molars—to prevent tooth decay. The coating quickly bonds into the depressions and grooves of the tooth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. Sealants have been shown to reduce decay by up to 80%! And studies have shown that children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than those with sealants.

Here’s what to expect if you or a family member has an appointment to get a sealant:

  1. The tooth getting the sealant will be cleaned and dried.
  2. An acidic gel is then placed on the tooth to “roughen up” the surface, creating a strong bond between tooth and sealant. After just a few seconds, the gel is rinsed off and the tooth is dried again.
  3. Then, the sealant is applied to the grooves of the tooth.
  4. In the final step, a special curing light is used to harden the sealant.

And that’s it! This can be done on multiple teeth during one appointment and the entire process can take anywhere between 5 to 45 minutes, depending on the number of teeth being sealed. Once teeth are sealed, the sealant can last up to 10 years. They are checked during regular visits and your dentist will let you know if it is time for a reapplication.

Even if cavities are present, sealants can still offer numerous benefits. Most sealants are clear, so if you do get one placed on a tooth with a cavity, your dentist can continue to keep an eye on it to make sure the cavity isn’t getting larger and the sealant is doing its job.

Who should be getting sealants? They are really for everyone! However, the earlier you get them, the better. It is generally recommended that molars are sealed as soon as they appear to keep them cavity-free. This would mean sealing the first molars around age 6 and the second around age 12. Sealants have been around since the 1960s, but if you didn’t get them as a child, it isn’t too late! There’s still time to protect your teeth. Just talk with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos about them during your next visit.