The dreaded root canal is probably the one dental treatment most feared by Americans. However, with modern advances in dental technology and dentist skill, there is no real reason to fear a root canal. Nowadays, having a root canal procedure done can give you long-lasting results with minimal pain, and is usually the preferred option over extracting a tooth.
We've put together this list of root canal myths along with the truth about this procedure in order to put your mind at rest. We hope that you will feel comfortable with the idea of a root canal after learning more about it, and will understand why it's often the best choice for an infected tooth.
Myth 1: Root Canals Are Painful
This is a pervasive myth, but it is untrue. Modern root canal technique utilizes local anesthetic to make sure that you don't feel a thing during your procedure. We also offer the NuCalm system to help you fully relax while having a root canal done. With the proper tools, technique, and equipment, a root canal is just like having a filling done.
After your root canal, you may experience some discomfort or sensitivity around the affected tooth. We will prescribe you pain medications if needed, but most patients are fine with over the counter medicines.
Myth 2: Your Tooth Will Need To Be Extracted Anyway, So Why Bother?
Many people think that a root canal is only a temporary solution, and eventually their tooth will need to be extracted. They think a root canal is a waste of money for this reason. However, most root canals have a very high success rate, and you can keep your tooth for the rest of your life with proper maintenance and oral hygiene.
Even if you start to feel pain in the tooth again, that doesn't mean it needs to be extracted. A second root canal can be performed in order to remove any lingering traces of infection or decay, and you can still keep most of your natural tooth.
Myth 3: Tooth Extraction Is Less Expensive And A Better Alternative
A root canal will almost always be recommended over an extraction if it is still possible to save your natural tooth. Extractions take out the tooth root, which can only be replaced by a dental implant. Dental implants are much more expensive than root canals, and are not covered by insurance in many cases.
If you opt to not replace your missing tooth, you're leaving your exposed gum wide open to further infection, and your neighboring teeth may start to weaken and shift into the empty space. Plus, the lack of tooth root may eventually cause bone loss in the jaw.
Root canals can save your natural tooth root and prevent the problems that come along with tooth extraction.
Myth 4: You Don't Need a Root Canal If You Have No Pain
Since tooth infection typically goes hand in hand with significant pain, you may think that if you don't have any pain you don't need a root canal. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes, the nerves and pulp inside your tooth have already died, which means you won't have pain despite severe decay and infection.
Experienced dentists have ways of checking tooth health even if you are not feeling pain. If Dr. Clancy finds that your tooth has been severely compromised, he will likely recommend a root canal even in the absence of pain in that tooth.
Schedule Your Dental Appointment Today
If you have a toothache or notice anything unusual about your teeth or gums, please don't hesitate to contact Dr. Clancy at 781-350-4385 to schedule an appointment. In addition, be sure to visit us every six months so we can check on your oral hygiene and the health of your tooth and gums.
We serve patients in Winchester, Somerville, Cambridge, Medford, and Boston, Massachusetts.