Extreme tooth pain and dental discomfort can often make you panic; making you worry that you might need a root canal treatment. Root canal treatments are a type of procedure frequently performed to save a tooth.
Unfortunately, there are so many misconceptions about root canal treatment, that it can be hard to separate the fact from the fiction. All of the misinformation feeds genuine fear for many, and so many people will avoid vital treatment and end up losing a tooth.
What is a root canal treatment? And what do you need to know about the procedure?
In this guide, we’ll debunk some of the most common myths and misunderstandings about root canals so that you can get the treatment you need with confidence.
MYTH 1- If There’s No Pain – You Won’t Need a Root Canal
Inside each tooth, there is something called the pulp chamber. Inside this chamber, there is the dental pulp. This is a mixture of connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. This dental pulp extends down into the root canal. There can be as many as four root canals on each tooth, and these anchor to your jaw.
The tooth pain associated with an infected root canal is caused by irritation to the nerves inside the tooth. When your dental pulp becomes infected, the tooth will eventually die and become abscessed.
Often, severe pain is the giveaway sign that your root canal has become infected; however, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, the inflamed nerves will barely cause any pain. Also, once the tooth has died, the nerves inside it will no longer release pain signals.
Because root canal infections can go undetected, it’s always best to keep up with regular visits so we can spot the signs early and address them straight away.
MYTH 2 – Root Canal Treatments Are Painful
The most common misconception is that the treatment is very painful. In the past, this may have been true; however, modern dentistry has this covered. Over the years, we’ve honed the procedure and these days use effective anaesthetics, meaning there’ll be as little pain and discomfort as possible.
We also do our best to make sure you feel comfortable and at ease throughout the procedure by being supportive and providing a calming environment.
MYTH 3 – Root Canal Treatments Often Fail
So often, people will tell you stories about someone they know that had a root canal treatment but needed to have the tooth extracted straight after anyway. Treatment failure is rare and the actual success rate is actually very high.
As long as we get to the problem early enough, we can skillfully remove all of the infected pulp and reduce the risk of further damage.
MYTH 4 – A Root Canal Removes the Tooth’s Root
When we perform a root canal treatment, we’ll make a small hole in your tooth to access the pulp chamber. We’ll then carefully remove all of the infected pulp before closing the chamber with gutta-percha, a material used to plug the gap we’ll leave behind.
If we did actually remove the root, your tooth would fall out. Following the treatment, your root will remain fixed to your jaw, providing your tooth with a strong anchorage.
MYTH 5 – Root Canals Kill Your Tooth
If your dental pulp gets infected, it can be very painful. If left untreated, the infection will spread and your tooth will eventually become necrotic. If this happens, we’ll have to remove it.
The purpose of root canal treatment is to prevent your tooth from dying. Although we’ll be removing the infected pulp, your tooth will still remain alive and functional.
MYTH 6 – Getting the Tooth Pulled Is Easier Than Getting a Root Canal
Some people think that getting a tooth pulled out is an easier option than having root canal treatment. Extraction isn’t something we’d do to a tooth that can be saved. We’ll only do that as a last resort.
When you have a tooth extracted, it can affect your overall oral health. Firstly, it can be difficult to clean a gap, and you’ll be at an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Secondly, dental drift and bone resorption are both unfortunate problems that follow the loss of teeth.
Over time, neighbouring teeth will slide toward the gap, causing misalignment and bite issues. Additionally, the area of the jaw that once supported the tooth will start to deteriorate, giving you a prematurely aged appearance.
Of course, in the event of an extraction, we’d always recommend getting implants or bridges; however, this shouldn’t be a problem if we can carry out the root canal treatment.
MYTH 7 – The Results of a Root Canal Are Temporary
Once we’ve removed the infected dental pulp and the tooth has been resealed, you shouldn’t need another root canal in the same tooth.
It’s important to understand that root canal infections are the result of tooth decay, so maintaining excellent dental hygiene standards and visiting us for a routine checkup twice a year will help reduce the chances of recurrence.
MYTH 8 – Root Canal Treatments Take a Long Time
Once upon a time, root canal treatments may have taken much longer, but these days, they can be performed in less than two hours. As previously mentioned, this will be done under anaesthetic.
Usually, we’ll be able to do the entire procedure in one sitting; however, we may get you back into the clinic at a later date to cap the tooth with a dental crown.
Book Your Root Canal at Love Teeth
A root canal treatment needn’t be something to be scared or worried about. Our team at Love Teeth have performed countless procedures like this, with great success, so you’re in good hands.
If you’ve got a toothache, or are worried that you might have an infected root canal, don’t delay, schedule your appointment today. With clinics at Chessington, Cheam, Stonecot, and Sutton, we’ve made it as convenient as possible for you to get your root canal treatment at the earliest opportunity.