March 25, 2016
No one wants to think about root canals. They’re easily one of the most terrifying dental procedures around – we could probably find a few patients who might even prefer getting teeth pulled to getting a root canal.
For all the bad publicity that root canals get they’re still an essential treatment! They save teeth, eliminate infection, kill pain, and can do it all with much less discomfort than people typically think. Our Belleville dental care team wants to take a minute to clarify some myths about root canals. They’re nowhere as bad as the rumors make them out to be – honest!
Do Root Canals Hurt?
This is by far the most common question we’re asked about root canals. People assume that they’re an incredibly painful procedure, and chances are you know someone or have heard a story of someone who had a miserable experience with theirs.
For starters, let’s be clear: root canals are always done under anesthetic. You won’t feel a thing when we perform one! A lot of the pain that people ascribe to root canals is actually caused by the misery they’re feeling before they get one. Root canals have to be performed when a cavity reaches the root of a tooth and infects the soft tissue that resides there. The resulting infection can be incredibly painful, but we assure you that the root canal itself won’t be. Most patients report feeling much better just hours after their procedure!
I’ve Heard Root Canals Can Cause Reinfection
When we perform a root canal we’re going deep into your tooth to remove all the infected tissue that’s there. At the end of a root canal we seal the tooth with a rubber-like material that keeps it strong and durable, and then we cover the tooth with a crown.
At no point in the process do we allow any bacteria to be left behind. We completely sterilize the inside of your tooth and remove all the infected tissue. You won’t have to worry about any sort of secondary infection – they’re extremely rare and are usually caused by the infection having already spread from the tooth to the surrounding tissue. We’ll be sure to check for that – don’t worry!
Aren’t Root Canals Responsible For Other Illnesses Too?
The root canal procedure started getting a bad reputation in the early 20th century thanks to the work of a man named Dr. Weston Price. He had a theory about infections called the “focal theory.” The idea was that a particular thing in the body – like a tooth, for instance – was the reason for the infection, not bacteria. Because of that he thought it was better to extract a tooth than to do a root canal. Leaving the tooth in place, he argued, would only lead to infections, illness, and even cancers later on!
We now know that teeth themselves aren’t the source of the infection, but are infected by bacteria. Once we clear a tooth of any decayed tissue it will be perfectly safe, and there’s absolutely no evidence to support the focal theory of infection.
Is It Better To Pull The Tooth?
Dr. Price’s influence on this myth aside, some people think that a damaged tooth should just be extracted, but that’s just a bad idea. Your natural teeth all rely on each other for support, and removing just one of them can lead to a domino effect of tooth loss that won’t stop until they’re all gone.
We always try to save teeth when we can. Extraction is only a last resort when a tooth is too damaged for a root canal to be effective. Even then we approach pulling teeth with hesitation – it’s not a good idea when each tooth is so important!
Is Recovery Painful?
Most patients we’ve talked to after a root canal agree that recovery is actually quite simple. The source of pain in a tooth is due to the blood vessels and nerve endings that live at the root. Root canals remove those entirely, so there won’t be anything left over to cause pain.
The majority of patients describe root canal recovery as no different from getting a filling. There might be initial tenderness, but in most cases it will be gone within days.
Toothache? Don’t Delay Action!
Root canals need to be performed promptly. If you’re in pain don’t delay treatment – it will only make things worse in the long run! Keep your teeth and mouth healthy with a call to the office of Dr. Thomas J. Feder, DDS, today!