Root canal therapy is considered to be the most feared dental procedure. Does that surprise you? But some of the things you have heard about root canals may have been exaggerated…to put it mildly. Before you believe the hype, take a look at the top root canal myths, and learn the truth for yourself.
Myth #1: Root Canal Therapy Is Painful. Root canals do not cause pain, they alleviate pain. Chances are, it’ll hurt a lot more if you don’t get a root canal.
The perception that root canal therapy is painful stems from early treatment methods used to perform the procedure. With modern technology and proper anesthesia – and there aren’t any dentists left who don’t use proper anesthesia – a root canal shouldn’t hurt at all.
Myth #2: A Root Canal Requires Several Appointments. Root canals are typically completed in one appointment. In fact with current technology a root canal can be completed in less than 30 minutes. The only reason a root canal may require a second appointment is if a referral to a root canal specialist, known as an endodontist, becomes necessary.
Restoring the tooth after a root canal is necessary in order to ensure the tooth functions properly. This occurs during the same appointment as the root canal.
Myth #3: Root Canals Can Be Treated with Painkillers and Antibiotics. Nope. If you have an infected tooth that flares up occasionally, over-the-counter painkillers, or even more powerful prescription drugs, might take the pain away. And antibiotics might curb the infection somewhat. But you are only delaying the pain, and an unattended infection can result in a serious abscess, which could damage the surrounding bone.
Myth #4: Teeth Need to Hurt Before a Root Canal Becomes Necessary. Teeth that require root canals are not always painful. In fact, teeth that are already dead may require root canal therapy to prevent the tooth from becoming infected.
Your dentist will examine your teeth thoroughly during your regular check-up. It is usually during this routine appointment where your dentist will discover a tooth that has died or is on its way.
Myth #5: Root Canals Don’t Last Very Long. This myth originated after patients experienced their tooth breaking months after a root canal was performed on their tooth.
When a root canal is completed, it can either be closed with a filling or a crown. Failing to have a crown placed on the tooth may cause it to break. If a root canal is closed with a filling, it may be too brittle to hold up to the forces from grinding, eating, and even talking. Technically, it is not the root canal that has failed; it is the restoration on the tooth that failed.