Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure that is suggested as an alternative to extraction. The following HealthHearty write-up provides information on the myths and facts about root canal treatment.
Most of us dread even the thought of visiting a dentist, but when tooth infections, cavities, and other dental problems cause debilitating tooth pain, these visits become unavoidable. The treatment option suggested by the dentist varies, depending on the condition of the affected tooth. If the tooth can be salvaged, their first choice is the root canal treatment. Most patients cringe at the thought of undergoing this treatment, owing to the myths associated with it. They feel that having the affected tooth extracted is a better option, as that would be quicker and less painful, as well as easy on their wallet. Is that so? Well, let’s dispel the myths associated with this dental treatment.
Myths About Root Canal Procedure Debunked
Root canal procedure involves the removal of the inflamed or infected dental pulp tissue (tissue comprising nerves, blood vessels, and the connective tissue). Besides the removal of pulp, the root canal, which is a channel in the root of a tooth through which the nerve and blood vessels enter the pulp cavity, is cleaned, filled, and sealed. A dental crown is later placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. Let’s now look into the most common myths associated with this dental procedure.
Myth #1. Root canal procedure is very painful.
Fact: It is not as painful as it may seem. Advancements in the field of endodontics, as well as the use of effective anesthetic agents are responsible for making this procedure relatively less painful. It must be noted that the objective behind performing this procedure is to remove the infected pulp, which is the source of pain. At times, people keep delaying the visit to the dentist, which causes a severe infection. Though the intensity of pain is considerably reduced as the source of pain is removed, some pain may still be experienced as the effect of anesthesia wears off. Moreover, the inflamed tissues at the end of the tooth are still in the process of healing. The tooth may feel more sensitive, especially if there was a severe infection prior to the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with the help of OTC painkillers or prescription medication. It’s best to avoid chewing on the affected tooth till the crown has been fitted.
Myth #2. Tooth extraction is a better alternative to root canal procedure.
Fact: If the root canal procedure is performed properly, the restored tooth can last for many years, or even a lifetime. Most dentists prefer it to tooth extraction, as this method allows them to save the tooth. Since the nerves in the pulp tissue are responsible for pain or sensitivity to hot or cold food items, one is no longer able to feel such sensations after the pulp has been removed, and the canal has been sealed off.
Myth #3. Root canal procedure requires several visits to the dental clinic.
Fact: Most people think that tooth extraction is better as it is quicker, whereas root canal procedure requires several visits to the dental clinic. That’s not true. If you opt for extraction, you will also need a dental implant to prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting. If tooth extraction is followed by the placement of an implant, you will need to make several visits, and also shell out more money. Root canal treatment usually requires 1 to 3 visits. It is basically the condition of the tooth that determines the number of visits required.
Myth #4. Root canal procedure is not required for a dead tooth.
Fact: A tooth dies when the blood supply to the nerve inside the tooth root is cut off. This could occur due to trauma or decay. Though one may think that there’s no need to treat a dead tooth as it can no longer cause pain or sensitivity to temperature changes, extracting the tooth or saving it through root canal procedure can prevent the bacteria from multiplying inside the dead tooth, and getting into the surrounding bone.
Myth #5. Root canal procedure is not very effective.
Fact: The success rate of this procedure is almost 95%. However, technical expertise and experience of the dentist is a major factor that determines the outcome. For a successful outcome, it is essential that the root canals in the tooth root are cleaned and sealed off. Some of the teeth have more than one root and root canals. If the dentist fails to clean and seal all the canals, symptoms will not get resolved. At times, canals are narrow, curved, and difficult to reach, and this can make the task more difficult. Equally important is the task of dental restoration. Bacteria can find a way into the inner area of the tooth, if the crown is not a good fit or the sealant breaks down with time. Problems could also arise if a crack in the tooth root is left undetected.
On a concluding note, it’s always better to save your natural tooth through root canal rather than having it extracted, provided the dentist is experienced enough to remove the infected pulp, locate all the canals, seal them off completely, and properly place a dental crown on it. The possibility for re-treatment or other complications can be potentially ruled out if you get the procedure performed by a specialist endodontist who has successfully carried out several root canal procedures.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.