Three Root Canal Myths: Debunked

Posted on: 13 February 2015

If your dentist has suggested a root canal, you're probably full of fear and angst. You think they're painful, lengthy, and the tooth will need to be removed anyway, right? Listed below are three common root canal myths and the truth. 

Myth #1: The Tooth Will Need to be Removed Anyway

While some teeth may require extraction down the line, the entire point of a root canal is to prevent removal. When the root canal is performed, the dead and diseased nerves and pulp are removed and the tooth is sealed. 

The procedure is performed because removal is usually not the best option. It's never better to remove natural teeth and replace them with implants. If your dentist has suggested a root canal, it's because it's the only way to keep your tooth and the surrounding tissues healthy. 

Myth #2: Root Canals Are Painful

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Root canals relieve the intense pain that many patients feel when going in for the procedure. While root canals aren't the most comfortable of experiences, the medications used in this day and age keep the procedure as pain-free as possible. 

Fear and tension may intensify feelings during the procedures, so it's important to stay as relaxed as you can. Speaking with your dentist beforehand about your questions and concerns can relieve anxiety and make the procedure more comfortable for you.

Myth #3: Root Canals Require Multiple Trips

For the majority of patients, root canals can be completed within one office visit (not including the follow-up). In very rare instances, a root canal may require more visits, but your dentist should be able to determine this from X-rays and previous exams. 

Even if the root canal is expected to take a few visits, it's still better than the alternatives, which are to leave it be or remove it altogether. Leaving it alone could result in complete decay of the tooth and surrounding tissue, and removal has complications all its own. 

No one looks forward to dental visits and procedures, but there is nothing to fear when it comes to getting a root canal. The technology and medications available today have increased the success rate and reduced the pain levels, making this procedure one not to be avoided. While many assume complete removal of the tooth will be necessary anyway, the truth is, a properly performed root canal can keep your tooth healthy, which means avoiding implants.