When some doctor suggests that you get a root canal done, your first impulse is to run out of the door. Most people clench their teeth in fear at the possibility of a root canal. Despite the hullabaloo associated with a root canal, it is indeed a very straightforward procedure and is very simplistic.
Root canal is also called as endodontic therapy and is done primarily to save carious teeth and prevent tooth loss. Here are some of the top myths associated with a root canal.
Root Canal Myths
A Root Canal is Painful
One of the biggest myths associated with a root canal procedure is that it is very painful. This is far from true. On the contrary, a root canal is done to relieve pain and alleviate the misery of the patient. Root canals are done to give relief from pain that originates in the pulp chamber of the tooth.
In the hands of an experienced dentist and the application of a local anaesthesia, the root canal is not painful at all. In fact, in most cases, it causes no more pain than an ordinary filling. In case the pain and infection is severe, the dentist will first give antibiotics to kill the infection.
Root Canals Are Costly
Root canals are expensive but not severely exorbitant. In fact, it is a mandatory procedure if you want to restore normal chewing functions of your infected and diseases tooth. It is any day an easier procedure than extracting a tooth and placing a dental bridge or an implant in the socket. It is much easier, more comfortable and safer to get a root canal done and place a crown. The tooth is dead but can still be used for your normal chewing functions.
Root Canals Remove Pain Immediately
This is far from true. A root canal treatment is like a mini surgery where the dentist excavates and removes the entire pulp tissue and blood vessels of the tooth. Such trauma inflicted on the tooth is likely to cause a certain amount of pain. This may last for a few days after the tooth has been treated. The tooth may feel unduly sensitive and the pain may last for a few days but this can be easily tackled with the help of pain medication. After a while the pain subsides and the tooth feels completely dead. Most of the time the pain occurs post treatment due to the effect of the instruments.
Root Canals Do Not Work
A number of people avoid root canal treatments under the presumption that they do not work and are a waste of time and money. This is completely false.
A root canal done properly with the correct filling and the right fitment of a crown can last for a lifetime without getting re-infected. This is true in almost 80% of the cases. In rare cases where the infection runs deep into the bone, there is a need to extract the tooth.
Sensitivity of The Tooth Post Treatment
Most people feel that it is very normal for the tooth to remain sensitive and painful after treatment. This is true for a couple of days but not after. If you continue to feel pain even after a few days or even after months, chances are that your roots were not cleaned properly. There may have been one canal still left to be cleaned which is causing you the pain. There may also be a possibility that the tooth was broken near the root and the dentist did not detect this in a timely manner.
Root Canals Kill The Tooth
The root canal treatment does not kill the tooth. It merely cleans and disinfects the tooth by removing the pulp and the blood vessels. These blood vessels have already served their purpose of developing the tooth when a child is in his early teens. What root canals do is kill the pain by removing the blood vessels and disinfecting the pain. It is the pain that is addressed not the tooth.
Teeth Undergoing Root Canals Do Not Need a Crown
In most cases, teeth that have undergone a root canal always need a crown. If the cavity is minimal, a filling suffices but in most cases, the cavities are large and the tooth has to be treated and disinfected. If the surgeon drills a large hole in your tooth, does the root canal and fills it up with a permanent filling, a crown will be required.
This is to prevent the tooth from getting fractured or developing fissures. The crown holds the tooth in place makes it stronger and takes the pressure off the tooth while the person is chewing.
Root Canal is Tedious And Time Consuming
This again depends on the extent of the cavity, the presence of an infection and the number of canals your tooth has. If the tooth has many canals, cleaning each canal one by one may take time. The dentist will also treat the infection before starting the treatment. In a simple case, the good, experienced dentist can do a root canal in a couple of hours. In complicated cases however, 3-4 seatings will be required to complete the root canal treatment.
Failed Root Canals Require Tooth Extraction
This myth has absolutely no base. In almost 90% of the cases, root canals are successful. Unless the doctor did a shoddy job with your tooth, there should be no problem. If the tooth becomes re-infected, the filling and crown can be removed and the canals can be re-cleaned and obtruded. With an advancement of technology, the tip of the root can be completely removed with the help of microsurgery. This completely takes care of the problem. Extractions are rare after a root canal.
Teeth Need to Hurt for Root Canalling to be Done
This is not necessary. Sometimes the tooth becomes so carious, that it becomes dead and the patient feels no sensation of pain. A dead tooth needs to be treated with root canal therapy to prevent it from becoming infected. The dentist will check whether the tooth is alive or not. This can be done my measuring your sensitivity level to different temperatures.