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Myth Busters: “I Heard Root Canals Were …”
Root canals might be the most misunderstood procedure used in dentistry. These misconceptions are responsible for their fair share of dental anxiety since a survey done by the American Association of Endodontists shows a majority of people with dental phobias base them on stories told to them by others.
Wrong information sometimes prevents people who need root canals from getting the treatment they need. As crazy as it might sound, some people even opt for extractions over root canals because they think it is the less painful option.
Ironically, root canals are not that painful.
Common myths about root canals
It is time to bust some of the myths surrounding root canals. Some of the more common ones are:
1. Root canals are painful
Every dentist on the planet is still scratching their heads trying to figure out how this myth even got started in the first place. It could not be further from the truth.
Root canal therapy is done to alleviate pain, not cause it. By the time most people need a root canal, the nerve inside the tooth is already dead, so there is no real need to use a local anesthetic. Many dentists give their patients a shot of anesthetic only as a precaution.
What patients feel during a root canal are vibrations from the drills and tools used by the dentist and pressure as they clean out the tooth with dental files. By the time the procedure is over, the pain that brought the patient to the dentist is gone.
2. It requires multiple visits to the dentist
This is not always true. Root canals can be done during one or two visits. The most common reason why a dentist might require a second visit is to fit the newly-restored tooth with a crown to protect it.
Other factors that might lead to a second visit include:
- The difficulty of the treatment
- The severity of the infection
- If the services of a root canal specialist (endodontist) are needed
Once a tooth has been treated with a root canal, its function needs to be restored. If it is one of the front teeth that carries a light workload, dental bonding can be used for this. If it is one of the molars, a crown is needed to protect it from further decay and the bite forces created when grinding down food.
3. The benefits do not last long
There is a myth that the benefits of a root canal do not last long. This was likely started by people whose tooth broke months after getting a root canal.
Here is the deal: Removing the nerve from a tooth makes it more brittle than it was, which is why most teeth should be covered up with a crown after treatment. A tooth that is protected by a crown is significantly less likely to break since the crown takes the load off it.
Need a root canal?
There is no need to be scared. It is actually one of the least painful treatments you can get. Stop by our Emerson clinic to find out if you need one.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.
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