5 Root Canal Myths & What You Need to Know

Friday November 11, 2016 by
Melissa Brown, DDS

There is probably no dental procedure subject to more myths than root canals. If you’re like most of our patients, you probably cringe at just the mere thought of this safe procedure. We’d like to change that! To help you feel more at ease about this topic, we’re going to address some of the most common myths we’ve heard about root canals.

1. Root Canals are Extremely Painful.
People who need root canals are often experiencing pain. Root canal procedures alleviate the pain, providing welcome relief. As for the procedure itself, it’s actually far more comfortable than you might imagine. In fact, with sedation and the latest dental technology, most patients find that the hype about painful root canals is just that – hype.

2. A Link Exists between Root Canals and Cancer.
This rumor has been circulating for awhile, so you may have received an email about this alarming “link” from a friend. However, the fact-finding Snopes website has officially debunked this myth. To be clear, root canals are safe and effective. There is no valid, scientific evidence linking them to cancer.

3. Root Canals are only Necessary when someone is Experiencing Pain.
Inside each tooth, there’s a tissue we refer to as pulp. Pulp supplies nutrients to the tooth. When the pulp is injured, it dies. If it isn’t then removed, your tooth can become infected. While pain is one indicator that pulp is damaged, some people experience no discomfort at all.

However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, we encourage you to schedule an appointment for a root canal evaluation:

  • prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • darkening of a tooth
  • gum swelling or tenderness
  • a persistent or recurring pimple on the gums

4. Having Teeth Pulled is a Good Root Canal Alternative.
In the past, you would typically lose a tooth if its pulp became damaged. However, that’s no longer the case. You can consider that good news, because natural teeth are always preferable to artificial ones.
Patients with artificial teeth can’t eat certain types of foods, and typically require dental procedures that cost more than root canals. By retaining your teeth, you can continue to enjoy the same types of food you have in the past while keeping your smile’s natural appearance.

5. A Root Canal Requires Several Appointments.
During root canal therapy, Dr. Brown removes pulp from the affected tooth, cleans out the root canal, and then seals it for protection. Once those steps are complete, she places a crown over the tooth to make it stronger. While sometimes this process requires more than one appointment, many root canals can be completed in just one visit. Every case is different, and we determine the number of visits needed based on each patient’s unique circumstances.

And speaking of those dental visits, we recommend that you come in every 6 months for a checkup. If you’re due for an appointment, you can schedule one by clicking here or by calling our office. We have two locations to serve you!

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