You may cringe your nose at the thought of a root canal. This is likely due to the negative stigma that this particular dental procedure has received over time. However, root canals are nothing to be scared of. In fact, most of the things that you've heard are nowhere near the real truth. Here are four myths regarding root canals:
1. There Is No Pain Present, Which Means a Root Canal Isn't Necessary.
It isn't uncommon for teeth that need root canal therapy to not cause you any pain. It could be that the infection is in its early stages and isn't causing too much pain for you right now, or it could be that severe damage has already been done and the nonexistence of a viable nerve is resulting in the lack of pain. A dentist can use X-rays to determine whether your tooth is in a state of infection that requires root canal treatment.
2. Root Canals Are Expensive.
While it is true that root canals can cost up to $1,000, the actual price that you will pay depends on your location, insurance and dentist. Many dentists can work with you on payment terms. Plus, if you were to leave your decaying tooth untreated, you are looking at a future filled with unnecessary pain. The tooth will eventually fall out, which means that you will need dentures or dental implants in order replace that lost tooth. And that's going to cost a lot more than a root canal therapy now.
3. Root Canals Are Extremely Painful.
When most people think about root canal therapy, they think pain. However, the pain is not caused by the procedure itself. The pain is caused by the infection from the untreated cavity that spread to the root of the tooth. The root canal is performed in order to eradicate that pain. The procedure itself is usually not painful, as there is local anesthetic given to numb the tooth as well as the surrounding work area. It can be expected to feel sore and be sensitive after the root canal procedure is completed, but the actual pain should be gone.
4. The Only Option If the Root Canal Fails Is Tooth Extraction.
Root canals have a decent success rate. Therefore, you are most likely not going to experience a root canal failure. However, there are instances when the root canal can fail, such as failure to properly clean the canals, failure to thoroughly treat the root infection, or failure to adequately kill the tooth's nerve. Luckily, if you do experience failure, extraction is not the only option. In fact, it is the last resort option. Before extraction is considered, a repeated root canal therapy procedure can be performed and is recommended. Another alternative is endodontic surgery.
If you need a root canal and have been putting it off for one of the aforementioned myths, now is the time to speak to your dentist and schedule the treatment. The longer you wait, the more severe the infection will become. Your dentist can educate you on the treatment and help you understand what options are available to keep you as comfortable as possible during the actual procedure.