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3 Myths About Root Canals

April 8, 2024
3 Myths About Root Canals

For some dental patients, the term "root canal" is all it takes to strike fear in their hearts. Unfortunately, the root canal procedure is surrounded by fear, anxiety, and misinformation. There are quite a few myths about root canals but we’ll debunk a few of the most common myths surrounding today's root canals that can save a tooth or even your life.

Myth #1: Once You Have a Root Canal, the Tooth is Fixed Forever

A root canal is necessary to save a tooth with irreversible nerve damage. However, the root canal by itself doesn't complete the job. Since the root canal removes the blood vessels from the inside of a tooth, the tooth is left without a source of hydration. 

Over time, the tooth becomes dry and brittle, with an extremely high risk of cracking. Teeth that have undergone root canals need to be fully covered with a dental crown to prevent fractures from developing.

Even after that tooth receives a crown, it is still susceptible to decay, cavities, and gum disease. In fact, teeth with root canals require the same care, if not even more thorough care, than those that don't have them. Since there are no nerves remaining in a tooth after a root canal, you won't have any sensitivity or pain to warn you of an issue like a cavity or a crack.

The treated tooth is only "fixed" when a crown covers it; you perform consistent good oral hygiene at home and visit your dentist for professional cleanings and checkups every six months.

Myth #2: Root Canals are Extremely Painful

The root canal procedure itself typically doesn't cause any pain at all. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and the surrounding gums and bone before beginning the actual procedure. The anesthetic works by turning off the nerve signals that tell your brain something hurts.

However, when a severe infection is near the site where the dentist must apply the local anesthetic, unfortunately, the pH of the infection can counteract and even inactive the local anesthetic. As such, many patients have to be on oral antibiotics for a week before getting a root canal done. 

Your dentist will ensure this complication doesn't occur. Dental professionals who perform root canals are experts in anesthesia so that their patients are completely comfortable throughout the entire procedure.

Myth #3: It's Better to Pull Your Tooth than Get a Root Canal

It's not advisable to simply pull an infected tooth without replacing it with an implant. Without a natural tooth or an implant, your remaining teeth will shift, and your bite might be affected. Whenever possible, the best treatment option is always to save the natural tooth. 

Root canal treatments have a high rate of long-term success, and most will last a lifetime. Pulling and replacing your natural tooth with an implant (while also highly successful) usually requires more time, treatment, expense, and further procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals

Will a Root Canal Save My Tooth?

Root canals are designed to save your teeth. However, if the damage or decay is too extensive, you may need to replace your tooth with a dental implant. Your dentist can discuss the best dental treatment options for your situation.

Will Antibiotics Cure a Tooth Infection?

Antibiotics may offer temporary relief for your tooth infection. Still, the infection will not be truly gone and is likely to come back again. A root canal allows for the infection to be entirely cleaned out, allowing you to save your tooth.

Root Canals at Venice Comprehensive Dentistry

If you need a root canal in Venice, FL, you have come to the right place. At Venice Comprehensive Dentistry, we want our patients to be as informed with the facts as possible when it comes to any procedure, especially root canals. If you need a root canal or have more questions about them, contact us at 941-484-3885.

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