Myths About Root Canal Treatment

A root canal is one of the most feared dental procedures of today. This is widely due to the vast amount of misinformation circulating about root canal therapy. Many who dread this rather routine procedure tend to base that apprehension on false information, or rare negative experiences of others. There are probably more myths surrounding root canals than any other dental procedure out there. Read on to get the facts and debunk the most common myths about this tooth-saving treatment.

The main myths about root canals

Root canals are painful

The top complaint from patients who need root canal therapy is the pain emanating from the said tooth. When the tissue deep inside the root of a tooth (known as the pulp) becomes infected or inflamed, it begins to irritate the tooth nerve. In many, if not all cases, the sufferer will already be experiencing a fair amount of pain before going into the procedure. The actual procedure is painless, save for some pressure thanks to the application of local anesthesia.

Most patients can report feeling little to no pain after a root canal, although mild sensitivity while the tooth heals is common. The numbing agent usually wears off in a few hours – this is when any mild sensitivity might be more noticeable. Although root canal therapy will alleviate most of the pain felt before the procedure, the treatment will require a healing period for the dentist can place the crown on the tooth.

If a tooth does not hurt, it does not need root canal therapy

Another reason to get a root canal when the tooth nerve dies. When the nerve starts to die, it is common for patients to feel no pain at all. A dead tooth will need to be operated on as soon as possible to save it. It is important to get a thorough dental checkup and cleaning every six months to avoid losing a tooth, even if it does not cause pain.

Root canals do not last

With proper maintenance and care, a treated tooth can last 15 years or even a lifetime. Many patients mistake the failure of a restoration, the crown on the treated tooth, as the failure of a root canal. Rather, when a crown breaks due to trauma, it is not the procedure that has failed but simply the hold of the crown on the tooth. The dentist can easily replace the crown, keeping the treated tooth root intact.

Root canals always take at least two appointments to complete

Depending on the severity of the infection and difficulty of the root canal, the dentist may refer the patient to an endodontist. In any case, the actual root canal procedure typically only takes one appointment. At the end of the procedure, the dentist places a temporary crown atop the newly treated tooth. A second appointment is usually necessary to place the permanent crown, but the tooth can still function perfectly fine in the meantime. Any appointments past the root canal procedure should not be considered part of the root canal, but rather part of the restoration of the tooth.

Any more questions we can clear up for you?

Please contact us today so we can help clarify any other misconceptions you may have about root canals.

Request an appointment here: or call Galleria Dental Arts at (703) 368-9777 for an appointment in our Manassas office.

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