Myths About Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is generally considered to be the most dreaded dental treatment. According to a survey by the American Association of Endodontists, the fear most people have about dentists and dental procedures usually stems from other people’s experiences and not theirs.
The erroneous information about root canal therapy stops many patients from making a guided decision about their teeth. Many patients will even go to the extent of asking their dentist to remove the tooth instead of saving it with root canal therapy. Before you fall for the hype, examine the following myths about root canal therapy and discover the truth on your own.
Myths about root canal therapy
Root canal therapy is painful
The main purpose of a root canal is to treat a tooth causing pain due to an irreversible condition. Broken teeth, pulpitis, infected pulp or a gradually dying nerve are all regular reasons for performing root canal therapy. The treatment is meant to reduce pain. If you ask most people who have undergone root canal therapy, they will admit to never feeling discomfort during the procedure.
According to the American Association of Endodontists, the notion that root canal treatment is painful originates from the early treatment techniques used for the procedure. Also, if you are feeling pain when you go for the appointment, your anxiety and apprehension may escalate the sensation you feel during treatment.
The root canal procedure requires multiple appointments
Root canal procedures only need one or two dental office visits. The factors that decide the number of appointments necessary to finish the procedure include:
- The level of infection
- Complications with the root canal
- Whether a referral to an endodontist (a root canal specialist) is required
A dental restoration is important after a root canal to restore the proper functionality of the tooth. The appointments required to restore the tooth completely should therefore not be added to the root canal process.
Root canal therapy causes sickness
The belief that the bacteria left inside a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment will cause illnesses such as kidney disease, arthritis or heart disease originates from a study conducted by Dr. Weston Price about a hundred years ago. Recent studies to validate Dr. Price’s research have been futile in verifying that root canal treatment causes sickness.
At every point in time, a person has millions of bacteria in their mouth. Teeth that are not infected by cavities or gum disease have been found to contain bacteria.
Tooth pain must be apparent before a root canal procedure is needed
Teeth that need root canal therapy do not always cause discomfort. The truth is that necrotic (dead) teeth may require a root canal to prevent further infection of the tooth.
The dentist will check the teeth properly when you go for your routine check-up. During this appointment, the dentist will be able to discover if any tooth is dead or gradually dying. A dead tooth can be confirmed using percussion testing, temperature testing or with a pulp vitality machine.
The results of the root canal are not usually permanent
This myth stems from people suffering tooth breakage months after undergoing a root canal. After removing the pulp of a tooth, the tooth becomes brittle eventually. Depending on the size of the restoration used on the tooth after the procedure, the force from chewing or grinding may cause tooth breakage, especially if a dental crown was not used. In reality, it is the restoration that fails, not the root canal.
The bottom line
If you have heard something about root canal therapy that is keeping you from getting treatment, give us a call so we can answer any questions you have.
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