Root Canal Myths Debunked!
“That’s about as much fun as a root canal.”
“I’d rather get a root canal than [blank].”
“That [blank] was as painful as a root canal!”
Everyone’s heard these phrases before. When most people hear “root canal” it immediately conjures up some pretty fearful ideas.
We work hard at Really Smile Dental to be one of Carmel’s most modern dental practices, using the most advanced technology and techniques available to get your smile and your oral health in the best possible shape.
Even so, when we recommend a root canal to a patient (also known as “endodontic therapy”), they seem to time travel, back to a time when dentistry was, shall we say, a bit more primitive.
If you’re reading this, there’s a a good chance you or someone you love is in real pain. We’re glad your search led you here, because our goal with this post today is to do some “myth busting” when it comes to people’s fear and anxiety as it relates to the root canal procedure.
Root Canal Myths
“Root Canals Hurt Worse Than Any Other Dental Procedure!”
Yes, it’s true, if you need a root canal, there will be drilling, and there will be an injection (of local anesthetic), and decades ago, a root canal was indeed a painful experience (as were many routine procedures).
That simply isn’t the case these days. Root canals are uncomfortable, but with modern dental technology and techniques, they’re no worse than a routine filling. Most people are actually surprised at how easy the procedure is afterward!
“A Root canal means I’ll have To give up certain foods”
Totally false! The point of a root canal is to prevent this from happening. Immediately after the procedure, you might be a little skittish to take a big bite of taffy, say, but after a short period you’ll feel ready to eat whatever you want, the same day as your procedure.
“No drills, please. I’ve read that pulling the tooth is actually better for you than a root canal.”
The myth that pulling a tooth (an extraction) is preferable to a root canal still persists. There’s actually an interesting story as to why people believe this.
If you’ve been researching root canals online, you might have run into a gentleman named Dr. Weston A. Price. In 1925 (you read that right, 1925), he made waves in the dental community when he began championing extractions over root canals.
Despite the fact that many disputed the methods he used to research his claims, many people had their teeth extracted (very probably needlessly). In 1951 (three years after his death) when it was confirmed that his research was actually flawed, the dental community stopped pulling teeth and returned to performing root canals.
Almost a century later, people still believe his theories, but the facts are these:
Dr. Weston’s research and claims have long been discredited.
Bottom line: a root canal preserves the tooth, an extraction removes it.
While many advances have been made in implants and cosmetic dentistry, the best tooth is the tooth you were born with, plain and simple. Dental implants, while necessary in some cases, just aren’t as good as your teeth.
A root canal is the removal of infected dental pulp, the bundle of nerves and tissue inside your tooth. When the tooth is cracked, for example, bacteria make their way into the pulp. This causes a lot of pain, and will eventually lead to serious problems if nothing is done about it. Your dentist will remove the pulp, disinfect the cavity, and fill it with a rubbery substance.
The rest of the tooth, the part that helps you to chew your food and give you a winning smile, stays where it is and keeps doing its job.
That’s what we’re after, to let you keep your natural teeth and smile as long as possible.
“Root canals cause cancer!”
No, they don’t. There has been no link made between having a root canal and any of the diseases you might have heard are caused by root canals.
Once again, we have Dr. Price to thank for this myth, and though his work has been totally discredited by legitimate science for decades, in recent years “enterprising” individuals have dug it up and begun to spread disinformation online (usually to get unsuspecting people to buy into some quackery).
One of the more recent claims (dated back to October 2014) you might see is “97% of all cancer patients have had root canals.” This is totally false; in fact, if you check the article on the subject of root canals and cancer on snopes.com (a leading myth debunking site), you’ll read that the 97% seems to have been added for dramatic effect; the team at Snopes could find no source for that number. Not to suggest that there is a number at all, because there is NO LINK between root canals and cancer and other diseases.
“Root canals take forever and require multiple appointments.”
Root canals don’t take anymore time than a routine cavity filling, and they’re usually done within an hour. Depending on which tooth is being worked on, there might be a slight difference in time (front teeth only have one canal whereas molars have two), you probably wouldn’t detect it.
Make an appointment today!
I hope you had as much fun reading this article as we had putting it together, but the goal is a serious one. If you’ve been experiencing serious pain in a tooth, you should come into our office and get it checked out. If we do recommend a root canal, we’ll work with you to come up with a treatment plan that is most comfortable for you.
Remember, a root canal prevents pain, it doesn’t cause it!
Click here to reach our online appointment form, or call us at 317-451-4050.