Milton, ON dentist explains common myths and facts about root canals
As a dental practice, we are all familiar with the groan that hearing the phrase “root canal” can elicit from people. It is understandable that endodontic procedures can seem painful, but the reality of the treatment is much less scary than it sounds. At Scott and Derry Dental Care in Milton, ON, we are here to guide patients through their dental care and answer their questions every step of the way. Below, our dentist busts common myths about root canals and offers the facts about this effective treatment that can be used to save your natural teeth.
Root canal overview
Before getting into facts versus fiction, it is helpful to know what a root canal is—and equally as important, what it isn’t! There are several components to a healthy tooth:
- The top part that you see above the gum line is called the crown, which is covered in a coating called enamel
- Beneath the gums, a tooth root serves as an anchor to keep the tooth in place
- In the middle of the tooth, there is a layer of dentin and beneath that is a chamber (called the “pulp chamber”) that contains blood vessels
- A nerve runs from the pulp chamber down to the root
This nerve helps you sense hot and cold as well as pressure, which is useful in helping protect the tooth from damage, but it is not necessary for every tooth in the mouth to contain this nerve because the other teeth can compensate for it. In a root canal, the tooth nerve and vascular tissues are removed from an inflamed or infected tooth, as well as any areas of decay inside the tooth. The area is then sanitized and sealed, and then covered up with a porcelain crown that looks, feels, and functions just like a normal tooth.
Now that we have covered the purpose of a root canal, let’s jump into the myths versus facts!
Myth or fact: Root canals are painful
Myth! Root canals are usually recommended when a patient is already in a large amount of pain from a condition such as an abscess, severe decay, traumatic injury, latent injuries, or chips or cracks. When a root canal is performed, it eliminates both the source of pain (the decayed or damaged tissue) as well as the nerve that senses the pain, so you can get back to your life. Anesthetics are used during the treatment to ensure that you are comfortable, and most patients who have had root canals say that they did not have any pain during the procedure and that it alleviated their pain afterwards.
Myth or fact: The benefits of a root canal last a long time
Fact! Root canals have a high success rate. By eliminating the nerve and blood supply from the inside of the affected tooth and then restoring it with a strong, durable crown, you can live pain-free without worrying about that tooth for many, many years as long as you properly care for your teeth by regularly brushing and flossing.
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Myth or fact: Root canals cause diseases
Myth! This myth comes from research conducted by a dentist approximately 100 years ago, and research since then has failed to prove that root canal treatments cause other illnesses such as heart disease or arthritis. Bacteria live around all teeth—both healthy and treated teeth. While the bacteria from gum disease have been shown to be linked to systemic diseases, scientific evidence to date does not support the claim that root canal therapy is linked to disease.
Myth or fact: It’s better to have a root canal than have your tooth pulled
Fact! In almost all cases, saving your natural tooth is the best possible choice, and endodontic therapy allows you to do just that. When a tooth is extracted, replacing it takes longer and is frequently more expensive than root canal therapy, with restorations such as bridges or dental implants being necessary and possibly affecting the health of the surrounding teeth and tissues. When a root canal is performed, you can save the tooth and a simple crown is all the restoration that is needed.
Learn more facts by calling us today!
Our professional team of dental associates at Scott and Derry Dental Care in Milton, ON is here to help answer any questions that you have about root canals or other treatments that are recommended for your oral health. If you have been suffering from a painful tooth, you do not need to delay any longer. Call us at (855) 438-4999 today!
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