The Root of the Problem
Let’s get to the root of the problem. See what we did there? Really, the problem with root canals is that they are associated with several myths, which exist as a huge disservice to those who actually need to have this tooth-saving treatment completed. For many of us, the term “root canal” can make us feel uneasy, yet we know so little about it. A root canal removes the pulp (center of your tooth) and other infected or dead tissue in the root canals as a result of decay or injury. A developed tooth can still survive without the pulp thanks to the surrounding tissue. At its root, pun totally intended, a root canal is meant to keep your mouth healthy, prevent further complications, and relieve discomfort. Since this is a positive treatment option for a damaged tooth, we’re debunking these common root canal misconceptions.
Misconception #1: Root Canals are Astronomically Uncomfortable
Thanks to Hollywood films, media, and references to old technology, root canals have developed a reputation as something to be feared. With advances in technology, we can safely dispute this myth. Root canals are easier to complete than ever before and can be completed in just one or two appointments. In fact, they often bring no more discomfort than having a cavity filled. If you’re still feeling unsure, let your dentist know about your concerns. They can provide the best advice and options for you. Just be sure to speak up.
Misconception #2: Root Canals Only Need to Happen in the Presence of Discomfort
Our bodies are notoriously good at keeping things running smoothly and ensuring that we’re as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, this special ability of ours comes at a cost; we might not know there is a problem when one is actually there. Infections or damaged teeth sometimes present without symptoms at all. It isn’t until things get out of hand that we notice there’s a problem. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to pay us a visit regularly. Checking up on those teeth can help identify problems early on before they become a huge thorn in your side.
Misconception #3: Pulling a Tooth is a Better Option than to Save It
Plain and simple, there’s nothing quite like your real tooth. If you do decide to have a tooth pulled, the best thing to do is to replace that missing space with something else (ex: partials, implants). Gaps in your teeth can cause further complications like shifting teeth or issues with the surrounding bone. Ultimately, replacing a missing tooth is more expensive than saving it. If it’s an option for your tooth, a root canal could be the best hero to rescue your tooth.
Misconception #4: A Root Canal is Likely to Fail
It can be truly upsetting when treatment goes unexpectedly. Unfortunately, there is always a possibility for error, but with root canals, the chance of it failing is extremely slim. Root canals have an 86-98% success rate. While it does happen, there are reasons why a root canal may be unsuccessful. A severe infection that has stuck around for a long time may reduce the likelihood of clearing out all the infected or dead tissue. Some teeth also have a complex canal network, which could cause canals to be overlooked. For teeth like this, however, a dentist may refer you to a specialist called an endodontist. An endodontist will have the best equipment and experience to help prevent failure from occurring in the first place. Rest assured, your knowledgeable dentist will do everything in their power to ensure success.
Misconception #5: Root Canals Aren’t Fun
Okay, you got us. Having a root canal done is a far cry from throwing a party or binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix. The good news is that you get to hang out with us. We’re here to make you as comfortable as possible while taking great care of you so that you can get back to what you love infection-free. If you think you need to have a tooth looked at for a root canal, contact us today.