A root canal is a dental procedure that allows your dentist to treat the infected pulp of a tooth without resorting to removing the tooth entirely. Root canals are safe and reduce the need for more extensive procedures but they have acquired several myths surrounding them. These myths can be dangerous since they often prevent people from getting the help they need and treating the infection.
Learn more about these myths and why they don’t hold up.
Myth # 1 – Root Canals Lead to Broken Teeth
Some people believe that root canals are ineffective because the treated tooth could possibly break sometime after the procedure. There are two parts to a root canal. First is treatment of the infection. The infected pulp is drained and replaced with a filler. A filling is added to the hole that was made to take out the infected pulp. The tooth is vulnerable to damage if it’s not protected after the treatment. The second part of a root canal is adding a dental crown to protect the tooth. The root canal doesn’t cause tooth breakage, but poor tooth protection can.
Myth #2 – Root Canals Cause Health Problems
A common misconception about root canals is that bacteria trapped in the treated tooth can cause diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer. The fact is bacteria is always present even in a “clean” mouth. This harmful myth comes from the studies made by Dr. Weston Price nearly 100 years ago. Dr. Price conducted these experiments in unsanitary lab conditions with a lack of proper control. Between his poor studies, unreliable results, and the inability to replicate these results a century later, this rumor is based on nothing credible.
Myth #3 – If It Doesn’t Hurt, It Doesn’t Need Treatment
This is a common, damaging excuse that some people use when suffering from any illness and they refuse necessary treatment. Pain is not a reliable indicator of any disease. Not all teeth that need a root canal will hurt. In fact, dead teeth which lack any feeling, are usually prime candidates for root canal treatment. Your dentist may discover a dead tooth or tooth that is almost dead during your routine check-up.
Myth #4 – Root Canals Are Painful
Another myth that keeps people from undergoing root canals is they think the treatment is painful. Root canals prevent the pain created by broken teeth or infections. The procedure itself is painless, especially due to advancements in anesthesia. In fact, the rumor about painful root canals is based on old procedures that didn’t use anesthesia or other numbing agents
Despite their infamous reputation, root canals are an efficient method to repair teeth without removing them.