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Misconceptions About Root Canals

A root canal is an endodontic procedure in which the dental pulp is completely evacuated from the tooth's interior chambers. The pulp is the soft vital material that includes the blood supply of the tooth and houses the dental nerves.

Once the pulp is removed, the nerves of the tooth are no longer present to cause pain or discomfort. In addition, in the case of an infected tooth, the pulp's removal rids the tooth of the infected material and associated bacteria. 

With more than 15,000 dental patients receiving root canal treatments annually, root canal therapy is considered relatively common. Still, many people are uncertain of the details of the procedure. Some may even be confused because of misinformation that they have heard or read.

This post disproves and discusses common misconceptions about root canals and the reasons the misinformation is not credible.

Root Canals Treat Dental Discomfort

If you have been researching root canals, you may have read that root canals are only used to alleviate dental pain. Although root canals do stop the aching discomfort of a throbbing tooth and the painful sensations of overly sensitive teeth, they also treat dental infections and dead teeth.

Dental Infections

A root canal patient may have a dental infection that needs to be treated. When the pulp within a tooth becomes infected, the bacteria can inflame the living material and the dental nerves that it contains.

When the pulp is removed during a root canal, the infected material and the dental nerves are eliminated. Additionally, the tooth's interior is disinfected then subsequently covered by a dental crown to prevent further infections.

Dead Teeth

A root canal is also an effective option for a tooth that has died - even if the tooth doesn't hurt. Since the dead pulp can become infected, the pulp's removal is necessary. The removal of the tissue can only be accomplished through a root canal or a dental extraction.

Root Canals Are Not Painful

Many people believe that root canals are painful. Although, the therapy may have been uncomfortable many years ago, nowadays, root canal therapy is practically pain-free.

Dentists regularly use dental sedation and localized anesthesia during root canal procedures. As a result, the patient experiences little discomfort during the treatment. Of the 41,000 root canals performed daily, none should be painful. 

Dental sedatives can even prevent root canal patients from feeling anxiety before, during and after the treatment. There should be no greater discomfort during a root canal treatment than there is during the filling of a cavity.

Root Canals Will Not Make You Sick

One common misconception about root canals stems from Dr. Wesley Price's research which suggested a root canal could cause systemic conditions. Price theorized that the bacteria within an infected tooth could leak out during a root canal and invade other tissues. Even though Price's findings were discredited in the 1930s, the misinformation that he spread is still being circulated today.

Price preferred to treat infected teeth using dental extractions. However, the removal of a tooth actually permits more bacteria to access the bloodstream than an endodontic procedure does.

A Root Canal Is a Permanent Fix

Root canal therapy is not a temporary treatment, and this procedure can preserve a tooth for a lifetime. Still, the treated tooth should be properly covered and protected using a suitable dental crown. In addition, good dental hygiene should be observed following the procedure.

Root Canals are Financially Worth it

While the initial cost of an extraction may be less than that of a root canal, the subsequent treatments needed to restore the lost tooth can add to the expense. Before choosing an extraction, remember to consider the cost of tooth-replacement devices, such as dental implants and fixed bridges. 

To learn more about root canals, contact the dental office of Michael J. Wallace, DDS., LLC  to schedule an appointment.