Learn the truth about root canals.

Root canal treatment is a common dental procedure that can save a tooth from serious decay, injury, or infection. Despite being a perfectly typical procedure, many patients are deeply concerned about this treatment. They’ve picked up a variety of misconceptions that we’ll dispel here so you can learn the truth about root canals.

Myth 1: Root canals are extremely painful.

One of the first questions patients have when they hear they need root canal treatment is, “Are root canals painful?” Negative portrayals in media have led many patients to believe their treatment will be painful, but that simply isn’t the case.

A this type of treatment is a standard dental procedure. People have them all the time, and it is not common for any issues to arise. While there is more to the procedure than with minor procedures, such as dental fillings, you won’t be in any pain.

How painful is a root canal? Your root canal treatment will likely be carried out with local anesthetic. This numbs the area, preventing you from feeling pain during the procedure. At most, you may feel some discomfort after the anesthesia has worn off. In more complex cases or for patients with dental anxiety, other sedation methods are sometimes used.

Myth 2: Root canals always require multiple appointments.

Many patients are also concerned about how long their root canal treatment will take. However, the procedure is fairly straightforward in most cases. While it will take longer than a simple dental filling, it almost always requires just one appointment.

During the procedure, your dentist will remove the pulp and nerve tissue inside the tooth. This prevents the tissue from becoming infected when exposed to the bacteria in your mouth due to damaged or decayed enamel. Unless there are other issues present, completing the procedure doesn’t take long at all.

However, you might need another appointment if you need a dental crown. In some cases, a crown is used to restore the strength and integrity of a tooth after a root canal. Crowns are used to restore the chewing surface of the rear teeth or the outer layers of teeth that are very damaged.

Myth 3: Extraction is a better alternative to a root canal.

In most cases, root canal treatments are used when there is an existing infection or a risk of future infection. A tooth infection is very serious. It can cause significant pain, develop into a pus-filled cavity called an abscess, and spread the infection to the gums, jaw, and other tissue. The only alternative for patients who need this treatment is often extraction.

Some patients might think they’ll be better off with an extraction so that they can avoid the root canal procedure. However, preserving the natural tooth is almost always the best choice. Doing so helps maintain chewing and speaking function, along with preventing other teeth from moving into the gap left behind by an extracted tooth.

If you do choose extraction, you could require more serious treatment in the future. You can develop orthodontic issues that could require braces or other treatment. Replacing the missing tooth with dental implants can prevent a variety of issues, but keeping your natural tooth by having the root canal treatment is the better choice.

Myth 4: Root canals lead to illness or systemic health issues.

Many patients have concerns about the removal of pulp and nerve tissue inside the tooth and the health issues it might cause. However, root canals have a long history of excellent results and are backed by the latest dental science.

While important during development, the pulp and nerve tissue inside a fully developed tooth isn’t essential to most of its functions. Even with the tissue removed, your tooth remains strong. There are typically no adverse health effects after a root canal.

Myth 5: Every toothache requires a root canal.

Root canal pain relief is one of the main reasons patients seek out the procedure. A toothache can often be a sign of decay, damage, or infection that calls for root canal treatment. However, some patients may avoid seeing a dentist about a toothache to avoid treatment.

This is a bad idea when it comes to your oral health, and it also isn’t accurate. A toothache can have many causes that don’t call for a root canal treatment. You might need a simple dental filling for a cavity or another simple treatment instead.

Safeguard your oral health with root canal treatment.

If you have a tooth that has become seriously decayed or damaged, root canal treatment may be the only way to keep your natural tooth. At Metro East Dental Care, we’ll carefully evaluate your situation to find the best treatment for your unique case. You can book an appointment today to find the relief you need.