A root canal treatment is an important procedure designed to save a damaged or infected tooth.
During the procedure, your dental professional will remove the infected or dead dental pulp – the nerve and blood vessels inside the tooth – and replace it with a filling material called guttapercha. This helps to strengthen the tooth and keep it in place permanently.
Unfortunately, this procedure has gained a bad reputation over the years. Despite how common root canal treatments are, there are several negative myths surrounding the procedure.
Here are three of the most common questions and concerns around root canals, and the actual truths about getting this important treatment.
Are root canals painful?
The biggest myth around root canals is that it’s very painful – and it’s simply not true.
Much like getting a filling, your dentist will apply a local anaesthetic to the site prior to the treatment. That means you may feel pressure, but not pain during the procedure.
Afterwards as the anaesthetic wears off, it’s normal for the tooth to feel a little tender. It’s a good idea to avoid chewing on that tooth for a day or two until the tenderness fades away, and you can take over-the-counter pain medication as well.
Otherwise, getting a root canal procedure is no more painful than getting a filling. Which is to say, it shouldn’t be painful at all.
Is tooth extraction better than having a root canal treatment?
Partially due to the false belief that root canals are painful, another myth has arisen around root canals: That it’s simply easier or better to have the whole tooth extracted.
Once again, this myth is completely false.
There are excellent reasons for saving the tooth rather than removing it. Firstly, it would create a gap in your smile. Importantly for your oral health, a gap can have adverse effects on your remaining teeth, from wearing them down faster as they take up the strain of a missing tooth, to them potentially shifting out of place.
That’s why any tooth extractions are usually followed by dental implants to replace the teeth, which involve a much more drawn-out (and expensive) treatment plan than a simple root canal.
Therefore, no. An extraction can be detrimental to your oral health and require lengthy treatments in future, whereas a root canal is a relatively quick and simple treatment that saves your natural tooth.
Are root canals a temporary fix?
Finally, another common myth about root canals is that they are a temporary fix to a dental problem. That’s simply not the case!
A root canal treatment is permanent. It saves the tooth by replacing the damaged or infected soft tissue inside the tooth with a permanent sterile material. Following the procedure, your dentist will wait to make sure the procedure has been successful, as in very rare cases, the infection may return to the tooth and they will have to re-do the procedure.
However in the vast majority of cases, the infection does not return, so the dentist can place a dental crown over the tooth. A crown adds strength and durability to help ensure the tooth lasts a lifetime with good care.
Do you need a root canal?
A dental check-up will be able to ascertain if you need a root canal to save your tooth. Contact Northcote Dental today to set up a consultation for your root canal, or let us know if you have any further questions at all.