The mention of root canal therapy often brings thoughts of pain, infections, and swelling. There are several misconceptions surrounding root canals which have given the treatment a bad reputation. Here, we debunk common root canal myths and explain how the treatment actually preserves your oral health.
What is root canal therapy?
Just as it sounds, a root canal is a treatment that extends into the root of the tooth. It may be recommended when the nerves within the tooth become infected or lose their blood supply. For a tooth to get to this point, undetected (and untreated) decay has spread to the point of infection and inflammation. The result is generally tooth pain, sensitivity, or an infection; these are dental problems that should never be ignored.
Severe decay and infections are the most common reasons for a root canal. Causes of a tooth infection include deep decay, a chipped or broken tooth, or dental trauma. These issues cause damage to the pulp of the tooth where the blood vessels and nerves are housed. Once the pulp is infected, the result is extreme pain and inflammation in and around the tooth.
An infected tooth should be treated quickly as it will not heal on its own. This prevents the bacteria from spreading further into your mouth. Root canal therapy is a swift, efficient method to eliminate the bacteria and damage while preserving the tooth. If the tooth infection spreads, more invasive or severe dental treatments may be necessary.
Common root canal myths debunked
Understanding the truth behind the procedure is an important part of prioritizing your dental health. With many of the misconceptions around root canals, it has raised red flags and fears about the treatment. In reality, this endodontic treatment is designed to save the tooth, preserve your oral health, and prevent further damage.
So, let’s dispel the root canal myths and ease your mind.
Myth: Root canals are painful.
One of the most common assumptions about root canals is that they are painful. However, if you need a root canal, you are most likely already experiencing tooth pain.
When decay starts, it creates a small hole in the enamel of the tooth. As the bacteria and damage spread throughout the tooth, the hole or pit gets larger. The decay moves through the enamel and dentin and enters the pulp of the tooth. At this point, you may experience severe pain and sensitivity in and around the tooth.
The root canal treatment itself is not actually painful. It is as routine as addressing a cavity. The dentist numbs the treatment site with a local anesthetic. You remain comfortable throughout the procedure.
Once the local anesthesia wears off, your mouth may still be sore from the inflammation and infection. However, once the inflammation from original tooth decay and infection subside, your discomfort should dissipate also.
Myth: The tooth root is removed.
False, only the damaged or infected part of the tooth is removed. During the root canal procedure, the dentist enters the tooth through the crown. The bacteria and infected pulp within the diseased tooth are carefully removed; the canals are cleansed and disinfected. A filling material is placed before a crown covers the area to seal out bacteria and protect the tooth.
The outer structure of the tooth remains otherwise intact. Since the root is not extracted, it stays in place supporting the tooth and restoration.
Myth: It is better to remove the tooth than have a root canal.
Your dentist’s goal is always to preserve your natural teeth. Whenever possible, conservative measures are taken first before more severe steps are needed. A root canal is less invasive and extreme than a tooth extraction.
A root canal treatment keeps the root of the tooth in place, stimulating the jaw bone and keeping the adjacent teeth in place. When a natural tooth is completely removed, the oral cavity is at risk of issues such as infection, gum disease, and bone resorption.
Myth: A root canal can make you sick.
Once again, this procedure removes the infected or diseased material present in the tooth. The bacteria that caused the infection have already caused damage. A dental procedure is necessary to rid the mouth and body of that bacteria.
A root canal treatment is safe and effective. It eliminates bacteria from the infected tooth. Once removed, there is no infection remaining to make you sick. Therefore, your oral and overall health improve following the procedure.
Myth: The benefits are temporary.
As shown through the myths and truths above, there are numerous benefits to root canals. Namely, the treatment resolves the patient’s pain, inflammation, and infection. Once this is complete, the oral and overall health improve.
The placement of a dental crown ensures long-term protection of the tooth, maintaining the results of the procedure. With good oral practices and routine dental appointments, your oral health is secure.
Benefits of root canals
If root canal therapy is recommended, you can rest assured that the procedure is safe and precise. The advantages of root canal treatments include the following:
- Effective – When the inner canals of the tooth are cleansed, the bacteria are destroyed. The tooth is sterilized and the mouth is infection-free.
- Painless – A local anesthetic is used to ensure patient comfort throughout the treatment. The procedure is as painless as having a cavity filled. The end result is actually pain relief as the inflammation and infection subside.
- Restorative – Once the diseased material is removed, your oral and overall health are restored.
- Long-lasting – With good oral habits and regular dental visits, the results of your root canal treatment are long-lasting. Your dentist can help you keep your smile healthy going forward.
Get a safe root canal treatment with Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
If you experience tooth pain, don’t hesitate to contact us. At Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we provide root canals in Pineville, NC, to preserve our patients’ oral health. We strive to provide dental care in a calm, gentle environment. We are here to ease your pain and your mind over oral health problems.