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Root Canal Treatments: Debunking the Myths

When you find out that you need a root canal procedure, it’s easy to let fear get the better of you. After all, there is a great deal of misinformation out there that’s capable of creating panic. However, by learning the facts and dismissing the myths, you’ll discover there’s really no reason to fear the procedure. Before you let rumors get the better of you, learn the facts of this beneficial dental treatment.

Myth #1: Root Canal Procedures Cause Pain
To clarify this myth, it’s important to understand that you’re feeling pain, because of your condition. A root canal procedure becomes necessary when a cavity infects the pulp of the tooth, a tooth breaks, or the tooth’s nerve begins to die. In these conditions, the pain is caused by an affected nerve, which sends pain signals to the brain. When your dentist identifies the problem, he schedules the procedure to fix the problem causing the pain.
When you submit to the treatment, the goal is to alleviate those painful sensations. The tooth and the surrounding area of the mouth are numbed, so you won’t feel any pain, during the procedure. In fact, many patients are surprised to find out that the root canal therapy is virtually pain-free. Even after the procedure is finished and the medication wears off, patients report that the pain in their tooth has been resolved. They feel much better and are happy they had the procedure done.

Myth #2: Root Canal Therapy Can Cause Illness
It’s amazing how long this myth has persisted in spite of plenty of evidence to the contrary. The procedure has been performed on millions of people, across several decades, so of course technology and techniques have changed. Between 1910 and 1930, Dr. Weston Price studied the effects of root canal therapy on patients and reported that the procedure opened the patient up to illness. He suggested that the development of certain conditions, such as heart disease, arthritis, and kidney disease, could be linked to teeth, which have undergone root canal therapy.

Even if Dr. Price’s research was valid at the time it was conducted, it’s no longer the case. Modern surgical techniques have advanced far enough that even the risk of infection is minimized. The fear that bacteria are present in the mouth, during the operation, should similarly be dismissed. Bacteria are always present in the mouth, even around healthy gum tissue and strong teeth, so there’s no reason to think bacteria can suddenly cause these illnesses at the time of a root canal procedure.

Myth #3: Root Canal Therapy Requires Multiple Visits
This might be considered more of a half-truth than a myth because the entire process typically requires two visits to your Sunrise area dental office. The root canal therapy itself may be done in one visit, while the second visit will involve filling the tooth to complete its reconstruction. In some cases, the root canal procedure can require more than a single visit. In these instances, the infection may have spread, or the tooth may be located in an area of the mouth that’s more difficult to reach.

While the reconstruction of the tooth isn’t a part of the root canal therapy, strictly speaking, it is necessary. Unless the tooth is filled and capped, the exposed canal will likely become infected and will require another procedure. This is why your dentist will provide you with dietary restrictions and recommend you don’t smoke cigarettes between visits. If the root canal therapy is simple and can be done in just one office visit, you’ll still be required to return for the filling procedure.

Myth #4: A Root Canal is Only Necessary When You Feel Pain
While you’ll feel pain in some cases of a damaged tooth, this won’t always be true. In fact, you may feel pain for a while and notice that it has gone away. This doesn’t mean the tooth has healed itself; it means the tooth has died. In this case, it becomes even more important to have the therapy done because a dead tooth can spread the infection to the gum tissue and to other teeth.
You may be wondering how your dentist will determine that you require root canal therapy if you’re not experiencing any pain. In this type of situation, the affected tooth will likely be discovered, during a routine examination. Once a dead tooth is suspected, there are a number of tests that can confirm a root canal therapy is necessary. Temperature testing, which involves exposing the tooth to extreme temperatures, is one method. Another test is to subject the tooth to changes in pressure and to measure your response. There is also a pulp vitality machine, which measures the health of the tooth’s pulp.

Myth #5: Root Canal Therapies Cause Teeth to Break
This is another half-truth in that teeth can break after a root canal therapy, but that’s not because of the procedure. Once the root canal therapy has been performed, the nerve will no longer deliver blood to the tooth. This often causes the tooth to become dry and brittle, so it’s only natural for the tooth to eventually crack, or break. Receiving the filling soon after the procedure and ensuring the tooth is also capped can go a long way toward delaying this eventuality. As long as you practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly, you may be able to prevent the breaking of the tooth.

While you may still be nervous about the procedure, you can now understand that there really is no reason to fear root canal therapy. It’s a necessary procedure to prevent the spread of infection and additional damage to the mouth. If you have any questions about the procedure, you should direct them toward the staff at your dental office ahead of time. The staff will ease your worries and help you feel more confident about the process.