Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist are imperative for a healthy, appealing smile. However, underlying dental conditions can still develop with proper oral hygiene. While surprising to hear, an estimated 15.1 million root canal procedures are performed annually due to painful tooth infections. If you are dealing with one of these painful infections, your dentist may suggest a root canal to treat the underlying infection and save your natural tooth. Although a common and safe procedure, undergoing a root canal may seem frightening, so educating yourself is smart to reduce fear and anxiety. Using this guide on common myths associated with a root canal treatment, you will understand the importance and effective nature of this procedure.
Extractions are Better Options
Many patients fear the invasive nature of a root canal procedure and opt to have the infected tooth completely removed. Extracting the problematic tooth may seem like an easier and more efficient option for pain relief, but saving your natural tooth is a better option for your oral health.
After extracting one or more teeth due to an infection, you will need to restore your smile with dental implants or dentures. Although these restoration options will improve the look of a smile with missing teeth, adjusting to implants and dentures will take some patience and effort. Eating hard or chewy foods will be difficult while wearing these artificial teeth. In addition, implants and dentures require extra time to clean and maintain.
Saving your infected tooth with a root canal procedure ensures your smile remains healthy and appealing in a more natural manner.
Root Canals are Painful
Undergoing a root canal does not cause pain, but it can relieve your toothache pain. Of course, you may wonder how the procedure treats the infection and damaged nerves and gum tissue.
To get started, your dentist will administer a local anesthesia to numb the gum tissue surrounding the infected tooth. This anesthesia prevents you from feeling any pain during the procedure. A rubber dam is placed in the mouth to ensure it remains open, but only the affected teeth will be exposed.
Once the area is completely numb, your dentist will drill a small hole in the tooth, allowing easy access to the dental pulp. Pulp, bacteria, decaying gum tissue, and other debris is then removed from the tooth using files that increase in diameter for effective removal of the damaged tissue and debris. Again, there is no pain during a root canal, but you may feel slight pressure during the cleaning process.
After cleaning the root canals, your dentist will add an antibacterial medication into the access hole to treat the infection. Then, sealant is applied over the access hole and affected tooth for added protection.
Again, there is no pain during a root canal, but you may feel slight pressure during the cleaning process.
Root Canals Cause Illness
A false story circulated years ago that stated 97 percent of terminal cancer patients had recently undergoing a root canal procedure. The story claimed that root canal procedures may remove infected pulp and damaged tissue without treating the actual infection, allowing it to spread through the body.
Fortunately, the story is false, since there is no real evidence of root canal procedures increasing a person's risk of cancer, other diseases, or health problems. Root canal procedures are safe and effective for not only relieving the pain of an infected tooth, but also for curing the infection with antibiotics and removing affected tissue and tooth pulp.
If your dentist suggests a root canal treatment for an infected tooth, it is smart to understand the procedure completely. Using advice from your dentist and this guide on root canal myths, you will understand the effective nature of this common procedure.