The mere mention of a root canal therapy is enough to send some people into anxiety attacks; images of severely painful and excruciating dental procedures may come to mind, which may even lead to patients avoiding root canal therapy altogether even if the treatment may be their only chance to save their teeth. Getting to know the complete truth about a number of root canal therapy myths will hopefully help you in deciding to get the root canal therapy you need while you still have a chance to save your teeth.
Myth Number 1: Root Canals are Painful
A root canal therapy is done to alleviate the pain that is being caused by: a tooth that has been damaged (causing the root to be exposed and to feel pain), an infected tooth pulp, or a nerve or root that is slowly dying. The impression that a root canal therapy causes excruciating pain may have come from the methods used in earlier years to perform root canal therapies which are a far cry from the advanced methods being used in present times.
The impression of a painful root canal therapy may also be intensified when a patient comes in for the procedure experiencing severe pain from the affected tooth; the anxiety and apprehension over the tooth and the procedure may contribute to the actual sensations felt. However, most people who have had root canal therapies state that they did not feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure, which actually led them to feel better afterwards.
Myth Number 2: A Root Canal Therapy Involves a Lot of Dental Appointments
The thought of going through a number of uncomfortable dental appointments has wrongly been associated with a root canal therapy. In reality, the root canal therapy can actually be done and completed in one or two dental appointments; the number of appointments needed to complete the root canal therapy will depend on: the difficulty of the root canal treatment, the severity of the infection of the affected tooth/root, and the need for an endodontist (a root canal specialist) to be called to oversee the treatment.
Myth Number 3: Root Canals Cause Illnesses
Some people think that having a root canal therapy can lead to exposure to bacteria that can cause serious illnesses such as arthritis, heart diseases or kidney diseases. This myth may have started with a study conducted by Weston Price, spanning the years from 1910 to 1930 information that have been written almost a century ago. Modern studies and researches were attempted to provide more concrete proof that root canals do cause serious illnesses these studies have all been unsuccessful. The fact is, bacteria that can cause illnesses can always be found in the mouth; without proper oral hygiene and dental health care, these bacteria can lead to serious illnesses even without a root canal therapy.
Myth Number 4: Pregnant Women Should Not Have Root Canals
The myth that pregnant women shouldnt have root canals stems from the need for X-rays before the actual root canal treatment. Dentists will naturally exercise the necessary precautions to avoid exposing a pregnant woman to the potentially hazardous (to the unborn child) effects of radiation; a lead apron can be used to protect the unborn child if a pregnant woman needs to have the X-rays before having the root canal treatment. With the necessary precautions put into place, there is no reason for a pregnant woman to avoid having a root canal therapy especially if it means having better oral health.
Myth Number 5: Tooth Extraction is Better than Root Canal
The myth about tooth extractions being better than root canals may be connected to the myth about the severe pain caused by the root canal therapy. Although a tooth extraction may take a shorter amount of time to complete, it can lead to a gap where the extracted tooth was positioned; the gap can cause the surrounding teeth to shift, leading to crooked teeth that may be difficult to properly clean. Saving the tooth by root canal is always a better option than losing it to tooth extraction.
Myth Number 6: Benefits of Root Canal Therapy Do not Last Long
This myth is believed to have originated from patients who experienced breaking their tooth a few months after having a successful root canal treatment. Removal of the nerve eliminates the blood flow in the interior part of the tooth, causing it to become brittle and prone to breakage; this is the reason why a dental crown is needed to complement a successful root canal therapy. The dental crown ensures that the benefits of a root canal therapy will last for a really long time.