You’ve been dealing with a raging toothache for a long time now, so you finally decided to see your dentist about it. You were excited to get this pain dealt with, until your dentist told you that you needed a root canal. Curious, you went home and did some Internet searching about root canals and found some scary information, and now you’re not sure which facts are true and which are just myths. Fortunately, your endodontist is here to debunk a few common root canal myths.
Myth #1: Root Canals Are Painful
The pain that is commonly associated with root canals is actually what people tend to feel before treatment. The procedure is meant to relieve your pain by removing the infected or damaged nerve from the tooth. Your dentist or endodontist will make sure you are nice and numb with local anesthetic before starting the treatment. In fact, many patients report not feeling any pain during the procedure, only a slight pressure, much like getting a cavity filled. Once the root canal is done, there may be some soreness for a few days, but your toothache should be gone!
Myth #2: Root Canals Cause Illness
If you’ve done any Internet research about root canal treatment, you’ve likely come across this myth. This false claim was created due to faulty medical research techniques about a hundred years ago and has long since been debunked. These days, dental professionals understand that there is no significant link between root canal therapy and illness of any kind.
Myth #3: Tooth Extraction Is a Good Alternative to Root Canal Treatment
Most dentists will agree that saving your natural teeth whenever possible is always the best option. As far as modern technology has come when it comes to tooth replacement options like dental implants, nothing works as well as your natural teeth. Root canal treatment is designed to save your natural teeth from having to be extracted, and it works the vast majority of the time. Replacing an extracted tooth may create problems down the road, while teeth treated with root canal therapy can often last a lifetime.
Myth #4: Root Canals Are Expensive
This myth is a bit harder to bust, since each dentist has their own rates for procedures like root canals. However, most dental insurance plans will cover up to half the cost of treatment, since it’s considered a major restorative procedure. Additionally, you don’t want to put off getting a root canal. The infection could spread to other teeth and even to other places like your jawbone, causing more expensive health issues down the road. Plus, root canals are several times cheaper than tooth extractions and replacements.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about root canals, but hopefully this list cleared up some of that for you. When in doubt, you can always ask a dentist or endodontist for more clarification about root canals.
About the Author
Dr. Gregory Gell is an endodontist with more than 20 years of experience helping people get out of pain by treating their toothaches with root canals. His practice, Afton Endodontics in Concord, NC, uses state-of-the-art endodontic technology to deliver the gentlest and most painless care possible. If you have an unexplained toothache, contact Dr. Gell’s office to learn whether a root canal could solve your problem.