Debunking the Myths about Root Canals
It’s a fact that if you tell some patients they need a root canal, you literally strike terror in their hearts. And usually they’ve never had a root canal, but have heard others talk about it.
What Are the Myths?
According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), here are some common root canal myths.
(An endondontist is a dentist who specializes in performing root canals and treating tooth pain.)
- Root canals are painful treatments. This was true many years ago when dentists didn’t use anesthesia and modern technologies weren’t available. But the fact is, toothache pain often comes from damaged nerve tissues within the tooth. A root canal removes the damaged tissue causing the pain and as a result, you feel relief. According to a recent survey, patients who received root canal treatment were six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who never had root canal treatment.
- Root canals cause illness or disease. False information existed 20 years ago to this effect based on writings of a Dr. Price and since then, his information has been proved untrue. Root canals remove bacteria from an infected root canal, and doing so can prevent re-infection and save a tooth. In fact, tooth extraction has a higher probability of bacteria entering the bloodstream than a root canal. Also, research published in JAMA in 2013 showed that patients receiving endodontic treatments were 45 percent less at risk for cancer.
- Extraction is usually a better choice than a root canal. Whenever you can save a tooth, you should. Root canals have a high success rate and many teeth with root canals can last a lifetime. Once a tooth is pulled, dentists often have to make adjustments for other teeth, place a bridge and do things to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.