Root Canals – Fact and Fiction

Root Canal Facts and Myths

If you’ve ever been told that you needed to get a root canal, there’s a good chance you’ve had a few ideas pop into your mind about the process. Over the years, myths about endodontic therapy have become pretty wild and—in most cases—unsubstantiated.

Just like an old friend’s fishing story, myths about root canals have the propensity of growing larger with time. Like any rumor, there are two sides to the story…here’s what you really need to know about endodontic treatment:

Myth #1 – You Don’t Need a Root Canal if the Tooth Doesn’t Hurt

 “It doesn’t hurt, so why should I fix it?” This statement doesn’t just pertain to root canals. It applies to everything from small fillings to fractured teeth. It’s probably one of the first things people say when their dentist tells them they need to have a filling.

Our body is made in such a way that sometimes the nerves inside our teeth guard themselves against pain or sensitivity. Just because the tooth doesn’t hurt, doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. It could just be your body’s way of coping with the pain altogether.

Abscessed teeth can be diagnosed through an exam or x-ray. Pain may or may not be present when an active infection present. Other symptoms include swelling, a “pimple” near the gums, or a circular area of bone loss seen at the root of your tooth on an x-ray.

But, if you leave the tooth untreated, the infection will get worse. Teeth do not repair themselves when it comes to deep decay or nerve damage. Apart from setting yourself up for a fractured tooth, untreated abscessed teeth have the potential to cause some of the most severe tooth pain that a person can experience.

 Myth #2 – Getting a Root Canal is the Most Painful Thing You’ll Ever Experience

According to root canal specialists at the American Association of Endodontists,  “root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. In fact, a recent survey showed that patients who have experienced root canal treatment are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not had root canal treatment.”

What does hurt, is when a tooth is badly infected so that it makes it difficult to numb for treatment. Our Richmond, TX. dentists may choose to give you an antibiotic prior to the procedure to reduce levels of swelling and bacteria for an easier procedure.

As long as adequate anesthetic is used, you shouldn’t have to feel any pain throughout the endodontic treatment. In most cases, any soreness following the treatment will be where the injection took place.

Because root canals can take a bit longer than a standard filling, we will also use a soft bite block to help you hold your mouth open, preventing soreness in the jaw.

 Myth #3 – It’s Better Just to Pull Your Tooth

 Instead of paying for a root canal, you might consider just pulling the tooth so that it’s completely out of the picture. Unfortunately, this can create a chain of events that could impact your entire smile.

Once a tooth is missing, the neighboring teeth adjacent to it will almost always start to shift or lean into the open space. Even your opposing tooth that used to bite against your extracted tooth will start to “super-erupt” out of its socket in an attempt to find a biting partner. Gradually, teeth throughout your entire mouth start moving and drifting, so that your entire smile is impacted.

If you’ve invested in orthodontic therapy or have a beautiful, healthy smile, an unnecessary dental extraction can destroy everything that you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Even children who may need a baby tooth treated with a pulpotomy can suffer from complications associated with premature loss of a tooth if you opt for pulling the tooth instead.

Myth #4 – You Can’t Afford it

Investing in endodontic treatment may seem like a poor use of money, but getting a root canal can actually save you money in the future.

Even though an extraction is fairly cheap, you’ve already seen the impact that can come from pulling a tooth that could have otherwise been preserved. This can result in the need to invest in additional treatments, such as braces, dental implants, bridges, or a partial denture.

Not only does this mean extra treatment, it means more appointments and additional time off of work. It actually saves you money to get your tooth treated with a root canal before something worse happens to it.

Root Canals in Richmond, TX.

When it comes to getting a root canal in Richmond, TX, Grand Parkway Smiles is here to make the process a smooth as possible. Our family dentists and specialists will work alongside you to assure optimal comfort and efficiency, so that you’ll be back on the go in no time. In fact, we have flexible office hours so you can work in your treatment when it’s most convenient to your schedule.

We work with most insurance plans and accept Medicaid & CHIP so that your root canal will be as affordable as possible. But, if you don’t have insurance, we also offer affordable in-house payment options that make your endodontic therapy easy to fit into your monthly budget. Contact us today to find out how our endodontic therapy can help you save your smile!