5 Common Myths About Root Canals, Officially Debunked

Loudoun Family Dental

When you think of a root canal procedure, chances are your first thought is that it’s an incredibly painful procedure. After all, nobody gets excited about a root canal. But, as it turns out, this is actually a common misconception. Just like any other dental procedure, from fillings to crowns, you’re completely numb during a root canal and you shouldn’t experience any pain.

Of course, this isn’t the only common misconception surrounding root canal procedures. To help clear the air, here are some of the most common myths about root canals and what you can actually expect should your local dentist decide a root canal is the best option for you.

Myth #1: Root Canals Hurt

This myth stems from the root canal procedures performed decades ago before anesthetics were commonly used. Today, as we mentioned above, a root canal procedure shouldn’t be painful. During a root canal, you’re typically given an anesthetic such as novocaine or laughing gas so you won’t be experiencing any pain. You may experience some discomfort after the procedure, but this discomfort can be easily remedied with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Myth #2: Root Canals Are Pointless and the Tooth Should Be Pulled

Root canals are preferred over the removal of the tooth for several reasons. The first reason is that, when your tooth is removed, it can put additional pressure on your other teeth because they’ll need to work harder to make up for that tooth’s absence.

The second reason is that your other teeth will begin to shift in your gums when another tooth is removed. This can cause issues with eating, jaw pain, and may even cause inflamed gums.

Finally, a root canal gives you the ability to skip out on needing a bridge or implant. Not everyone is eligible to undergo a dental implant procedure (your jaw bone or gums may not be healthy enough) and not everyone has teeth strong enough to sustain a bridge. Root canals are a great option for keeping your natural tooth in your gums while relieving the pain and discomfort caused by nerve damage or decay. What’s more, root canal procedures today have a high success rate and the results are long-lasting.

Myth #3: Crowns Cause Root Canals

Another common misconception about root canals is that if you have a crown on your tooth, you’ll eventually need to have a root canal procedure done. However, this isn’t true. About 15 million people in the U.S. have a crown. A crown is meant to help keep tooth decay off your tooth and to protect it from the bad bacteria in your mouth to prevent further damage. Unfortunately, because your local dentist doesn’t control the bacteria in your mouth, sometimes tooth decay can develop beneath the crown. When this happens, the tooth decay may reach the pulp of the tooth and cause pain and discomfort. A more accurate statement is that a tooth that needs a crown is at greater risk of needing a root canal because the tooth decay is already extensive enough to need a crown. The crown itself doesn’t cause further decay.

Myth #4: Root Canals Can Make You Sick

This is a strange misconception, but it’s still a common one. There’s a false claim that root canal treatments will make you more susceptible to contracting illnesses. Fortunately, this myth was debunked almost 100 years ago and there isn’t any scientific proof showing that a root canal procedure will make you more likely to become ill. If anything, a root canal treatment will make you happier and healthier by removing tooth decay in the pulp chamber and canals of your tooth. This relieves your dental pain and keeps decay away from your gums where it could cause an infection.

Myth #5: Root Canals Are Lengthy Procedures

The cool thing about today’s technology is that you don’t need to schedule out several appointments with your local dentist to undergo a root canal procedure. Instead, root canal treatment only takes between one to two appointments depending on the extent of the procedure. The average root canal only takes around 30 to 60 minutes. More complex root canal treatments can take around 90 minutes.

Looking for more information on root canal procedures and other dental improvements? We’ve got you covered. To learn more about root canals and other oral health procedures, contact the local dentists of Loudon Dental Associates today.