Busted: Myths about root canals Many people dread visiting the dentist. They procrastinate. They endure the pain until it gets so bad that they just can’t anymore. Or worse, they grind their teeth (not a good thing) and accept the pain, choosing it over sitting in the dentist’s chair. One of the reasons for this could be the proliferation of myths about dental procedures. One such procedure is the root canal. In all honesty, the words “root canal” do sound a bit daunting. Especially if you’re not quite sure what it’s all about. A root canal is basically a procedure to treat and save an infected tooth. Nothing nefarious goes on. Whatever you may have heard about root canal therapy that kept you away from your dentist is most probably a myth. Here are the common myths about root canals that you should know so you don’t “forget” about your next dental appointment. Myth#1: The pain of root canal is so intense, you’re better off not having it Before the advancements in dental techniques and technology, that just may have been the case, but not anymore. The point of having a root canal is to help relieve the pain caused by an infected tooth. With the help of a local anaesthetic, which numbs the tooth and the area around it, the root canal procedure is (relatively) pain-free. If you’re feeling a little anxious about the procedure, the dentist can give you some calming medication. Myth#2: I don’t feel any pain so I don’t need a root canal Often teeth that are in need of a root canal won’t cause any pain. A root canal is also needed to prevent a tooth that is already dead from becoming infected. There are tests that are used to confirm whether or not a tooth is dead. If the tooth pulp is damaged or infected, a root canal is needed to remove the damaged tissue from inside the tooth. A “pimple”, called a fistula, will be found near the damaged tooth, and is actually an exit point through which the pus from the tooth drains. The fistula prevents pressure from building in the tissue, which is why you don’t feel pain. However, the infection must still be treated to prevent nearby tissue from becoming infected. Myth#3: It’s better to extract a tooth than have a root canal Where it is possible to save your natural teeth, you should. Having your natural teeth intact ensures the bone in your jaw won’t wrongly think it’s no longer needed, and start to dissolve. It also means you won’t need to consider expensive tooth replacement options like dental implants to replace your tooth and maintain your oral health. Root canal treatment is a cost-effective way to treat a tooth with infected pulp. Myth#4: A root canal can cause illness This really isn’t true at all. This myth was based on century-old research that has long since been discredited. According to this research, bacteria can become trapped in the teeth during a root canal procedure, causing all kinds of diseases, ranging from arthritis, to kidney disease, to heart disease. However, bacteria are always present in your mouth and cannot be considered an “infection”, especially when it doesn’t necessarily affect your health. No scientific evidence can link root canal treatment to illness or disease. Myth#5: A root canal involves the removal of the roots of the tooth During a root canal, your dentist will remove the infected/damaged pulp from inside the tooth. The rest of the tooth remains intact. Myth#6: The benefits of a root canal are not long-lasting This myth originated after patients experienced tooth-breakage within months of a root canal. The removal of the nerve from inside the tooth stops the blood supply from flowing inside the tooth. As a result, the tooth becomes brittle. The filling that is used to close the tooth after the root canal must be able to withstand the forces from grinding and chewing otherwise the tooth may break. Failure to have a crown placed on the tooth can result in the tooth breaking. So, it is the restoration of the tooth and not the actual root canal that may cause the tooth to break. If restoration is done correctly, there shouldn’t be any problems. Following proper restoration, good dental practices and regular visits to your dentist, your natural tooth, saved by root canal treatment, could last you a lifetime. Myth#7: Root canals are not safe for pregnant women Although, a root canal requires an x-ray to be done, radiation exposure is minimal, with the x-ray aimed at the mouth and not the abdomen. Furthermore, the dentist will place a lead apron over the patient’s abdomen. The anaesthetics used are pregnancy-safe. Root canals are therefore usually safe for pregnant woman. Root Canal Therapy at Beresford Dental – The Smile Pros in Mermaid Waters Whether you’re ready to come in for a root canal, or feeling a bit uncertain about the procedure, give us a call. At Beresford Dental – The Smile Pros in Mermaid Waters, we aim to help you understand any procedure you may require so that your mind can finally be at ease! Don’t forget to share this via Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn.