Root canals: you’ve probably heard a lot of things about this restorative procedure (some of it bad, some of it not so bad). So how do you separate the facts from fiction? We’re debunking the most common myths surrounding root canal therapy. When you have the right information, you can enter your appointment confident, and with some extra peace of mind. |
Myth: Root canal procedures hurt.
Most patients who are about to undergo their first root canal procedure are worried about how it will feel. The myth that these procedures are painful is widely circulated; it most likely came about because patients often experience significant pain or sensitivity before treatment. Discomfort from abscessed, or infected, teeth can interfere with quality of life and build for days or even weeks before treatment occurs.
Typically, teeth needing root canal therapy present one or more of the following symptoms:
- Dull jaw pain that lingers - Increased sensitivity to fluctuating temperatures - Throbbing pain centered around the tooth - Radiating pain into the jawbone, ears, neck, or sinuses - A sharp, “shock” of pain when biting or chewing
After nursing pain in the tooth or jaw, patients can be a little tense in the dentist chair. However, patient comfort during any restorative procedure is a top priority. Before treatment begins, the affected tooth is completely numbed with anesthetic. Sometimes, optional sedative medications are administered to relax the patient and improve their experience. Once the infection is removed, patients feel a noticeable difference in pain levels quite quickly. While it is not uncommon to experience some swelling, tenderness, or sensitivity after the procedure, these side effects should dissipate after the first few days. Remember, it’s important to follow all post-operative directions from the dentist for a speedy and comfortable recovery. Myth: It’s a temporary solution.
Root canals are a long-lasting, safe treatment for infected teeth. With each treatment step, the process helps ensure a strong, healthy tooth which can be permanently maintained through proper dental hygiene.
What can you expect during your procedure?
- First, the patient receives local anesthetic before treatment begins. Optional sedatives can be given for patients with anxiety or fear about the procedure. - Once the patient is completely numb, the dentists makes a small opening on the top of the affected tooth. - The infected or inflamed inner tooth is removed. - Each hollow canal that runs through the root of the tooth is cleaned and prepped for filling. - The dentist then places a bioinert, rubbery material into the inner tooth and canals. - A temporary, composite crown is placed while a permanent porcelain crown is made, or the final crown is placed the very same day.
When it comes to a simple root canal procedure, patients can be in and out of the dental office in about two hours.
Myth: Root canals negatively affect your overall health.
Since the early days of modern dentistry, myths have circulated that root canals can cause serious systemic diseases such as cancer or heart disease. However, no modern, scientifically-verifiable studies have found anything to support this theory. Unreliable studies that were incorrectly administered in the 1920s are the only “evidence” that root canals do anything but effectively remove infection and save teeth from extraction.
Current research is the best way to determine links between medical procedures and patient health. While it’s very normal for cancer or heart disease patients to have undergone a previous root canal, it does not mean that the root canal in any way caused the disease. Know that your safety and health are the top priority of our dental team. We support verifiably safe and effective treatment to eliminate infection and discomfort in the body safely through root canal therapy.
Root canal myths are widely circulated, but can lead to unnecessary anxiety or fear; it’s important to always check the facts with a dentist before you make any decisions about your oral health. If you’re in the Denver, CO area, schedule an appointment at Metro Dental. They can help you determine your best course of treatment, address questions and concerns you may have, and help you restore a strong, pain-free smile.
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