Do you cringe when you hear the words "Root Canal"?
Many people do cringe when they hear Root Canal as they are often used as an analogy for the worst experience of your life. "I'd rather have a root canal than (insert most hated activity ever)"
The vast majority of root canals performed now are painless. Most of our patients report that the whole experience does not live up to the negative hype that they were expecting. So lets look at root canals and find out what are facts and what are myths.
What is a Root Canal?
A Root Canal is performed when the pulp of a tooth gets an infection or is inflamed. This can cause severe pain or even loss of the tooth. During a Root Canal the pulp is removed along with the fluid that contains the infection by drilling a small hole in the top of the tooth, this then allows the removal of the inflamed or infected pulp.
#1. Root Canal Treatment is Painful.
MYTH. Lets get straight into this one - Most Root Canals performed now are painless and if anything relieve a painful infected tooth. The Reputation that Root Canals are painful may date back to a time when local anaesthetic was not widely used, but this is not the case now. Dentistry has made major advances in the last 50 years and so the procedures that we perform today are less painful and are more successful than 50 years ago.
#2. I'm not in pain do I really need a Root Canal?
FACT. While many root canals are performed on teeth that are extremely painful, sometimes we can find teeth that have infections inside their roots but are not causing any pain! These infected teeth still need to be treated to prevent the infection from spreading to the rest of your body.
#3. Root Canals don't work just rip the tooth out!
MYTH. At first this may seem like a good idea, you have heard about the reputation of Root Canals and are terrified of what may need to happen so it must be easier to have the tooth extracted? Most Root Canals as we have already discussed are now a pain free procedure and are very successful at saving your tooth. If you have a tooth removed then you need to look at replacing the tooth with an implant or a bridge or a partial denture, these solutions can be less successful or comfortable or cost effective as keeping your own tooth.
#4. The pain will vanish immediately
FACT and MYTH. It is a fact that that when an infected root is removed the major pain relief is immediate. That is not to say that the tooth will immediately be pain free. Remember that the tooth has had a procedure where it has been drilled and poked and prodded so it can be a little swollen and inflamed for 1 week or 2 before things should settle down and your tooth will behave like the rest of your teeth.
#5. A tooth with a Root Canal needs a Crown
FACT. Once the root has been removed from the tooth it is important to strengthen the tooth, we strongly recommend a crown for molars and pre-molars to strengthen and secure your tooth for years to come and ensure the best possible level of success of your root canal treatment.
If you have any questions regarding Root Canal Treatments please drop me an email or book an appointment to discuss your dental problem.