Root canal therapy has gotten a bad reputation throughout the years. You may have heard your parents talk about how terrible their root canal treatment was. Perhaps you even need a root canal but are dreading having one done, and are therefore putting off the procedure.
Forget everything you know about root canal therapy. This form of treatment has come a long way since its inception. Experienced dentists like your dentist in Asheville can perform the procedure and help save your tooth, therefore avoiding an extraction.
Why would you get root canal therapy as opposed to an extraction? Here are some of the top myths about root canal therapy so you can overcome your misconceptions about this treatment.
Myth #1: Root Canals Are Extremely Painful
Root canals are designed to treat your pain, not cause you more pain.
During a root canal procedure, your Asheville dentist removes the infected, or inflamed, pulpal tissue (which consists of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue) that’s inside your tooth. The pulp tissue could be infected, or inflamed, for a variety of reasons, among them include:
- A cavity that’s been left to progress.
- A fractured or cracked tooth that allows bacteria to invade the inner portions of the tooth.
- An injured tooth, which may lead to bacteria in the pulp, therefore causing an infection.
Infected pulp tissue is usually painful. However, some people remain symptomless because the nerve tissue dies during the infection.
For patients who experience pain and for those who don’t, a root canal is designed to save your tooth.
Finally, for many patients the procedure can be completed painlessly with modern anesthetics and mild anxiolytic medications.
Myth #2: Getting a Tooth Pulled Is Better
Saving your natural tooth is almost always the preferred option.
This is because there’s nothing quite like your natural teeth. Even the best tooth replacement options available do not have all the advantages your teeth do. Your teeth can last a lifetime; they’re strong, resilient, and look natural in your mouth.
Having a tooth removed is usually not a better option than a root canal. Replacing a missing tooth is often more expensive, takes longer to complete and may not last as long. Finally, by saving your natural tooth you’ll also maintain your natural appearance.
Many people don’t realize that root canal therapy can save your tooth. Talk to your Asheville dental practice about this option. Although there are situations where an extraction is unavoidable, in many cases, root canal therapy is the better choice for treatment.
Myth #3: I Don’t Need a Root Canal
For those who don’t experience pain as a result of dead or infected tooth pulp, they may think they don’t need a root canal.
This is a myth. Once the pulp has died, the infection can spread into other tissues and may eventually create a painful abscess in your mouth. People who have diseased pulpal tissue can treat the tooth by removing the infected pulp and sealing the canal to prevent future infections. Furthermore, a positive outcome from a root canal procedure is predictable.
Skipping your root canal appointment and leaving an abscess untreated, could even lead bacteria to entering your bloodstream and affecting your heart.
Finally, you can also miss the chance to save your tooth and instead end up needing an extraction if you avoid root canal therapy long enough. This is because the tooth may become so infected or damaged that the root canal treatment outcome becomes significantly less predictable.
Myth #4: A Follow-Up Visit Is Unnecessary
While root canal therapy with your Asheville dentist likely won’t take several dental visits, you can and should schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure your root canal procedure was effective.
You’ll also need to receive a restoration on your tooth (to seal the outside) after the inside has been sealed to protect the tooth from bacterial invasion. Your follow-up visit can ensure your tooth is healing from the procedure as well as fit you with a permanent restoration on your tooth to complete the process.
Getting a root canal procedure doesn’t take much more time than a filling these days, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid the dentist after your root canal therapy. Scheduling an appointment along with regular cleanings can help you prevent needing any future root canals and protect the ones you currently have.
Talk with your dentist in Asheville about scheduling your follow-up appointment when you talk about root canal therapy.
Myth #5: Root Canals Cause Illness
The myth that root canals can cause illness and disease originated decades ago, but there is no conclusive evidence to back up these claims.
These old ideas centered on the fact that any bacteria from the infected pulp would become trapped once the canal was sealed and could cause illness in the body. The literature says this just isn’t true. Technology has enabled dentists to have better, more precise tools to effectively remove diseased tissue inside your tooth.
The risks of avoiding a root canal far outweigh those for getting root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is a safe and effective procedure. In fact, certain root canal treatments have a 95% success rate in patients.
The Truth about Root Canal Therapy
The truth is that root canal therapy is often a painless, successful procedure for the vast majority of patients. Schedule an exam with Dr. Saunders at our Asheville dental practice. He can conduct a thorough exam and determine if a root canal is needed.
Even if you don’t suspect root canal therapy is necessary, come in and see us. Regular checkups and cleanings can help remove the bacteria and plaque that cause cavities and gum disease that could lead to infected tooth pulp in the first place.
Consider that root canals aren’t meant to harm your tooth, but to heal it. When or if you need root canal therapy, keep these five myths in mind when you visit your dentist for a consultation!