When it comes to your dental health, it’s always a good idea to save your natural teeth when you can. If a tooth is damaged, you can repair it with a dental crown. If you have a cavity, you get a dental filling. And if you have an infected tooth, you have root canal therapy.
However, many people do not understand root canals. They have a bad image, and that’s unfortunate. Root canal therapy can relieve chronic toothaches and save your teeth. To help explain, here are the top six myths about root canal therapy.
Myth 1: You know you need root canal therapy when you have a toothache. When harmful bacteria get inside of a tooth, they infect the dental pulp. This can be very painful, as your pulp is where to find all of the tooth’s nerve endings. That means such infections usually create bad toothaches. That’s why some people believe that any toothache means a root canal is necessary.
However, that is not always the case. Yes, a chronic toothache can indicate root canal therapy is needed, which is why you should drop by our Tulsa, OK dental office whenever you have tooth pain. However, that toothache can be caused by gum disease or a cavity.
Myth 2: Root canal therapy is dangerous, so it’s better to have a tooth extracted instead. Back in the early 20th Century, one dentist did a study and concluded that root canals were dangerous. He knew that root canal therapy got rid of an infection, so he reasoned that taking out the infection just spread it around more. Instead, he advocated for always pulling a tooth instead.
A few years later, people began questioning his study. Soon enough, dentists realized the study was incorrect. However, that’s probably where this myth got started. Root canal therapy is not any more dangerous than getting a cavity filled. Besides, it’s always a good idea to save a natural tooth is possible. With root canal therapy, it usually is.
Myth 3: You’ll wind up with a weaker tooth after root canal therapy. Before out dentists can remove the infection from your dental pulp, they will need to make an opening in your tooth. Then they remove the infected pulp. Because of both, some people believe root canal therapy will make your teeth weak. After all, there’s less stuff inside and now there’s an opening in the side.
The people who believe this myth probably never had root canal therapy done. If they had, they’d know the removed pulp is replaced with gutta-percha, an inert substance that can safely rest in your tooth. After the procedure is done, you’ll get a dental crown placed atop that tooth. This seals up the opening and helps make your tooth strong.
Myth 4: Root canal therapy increases your risk of cancer and arthritis. This seems to be a more specific version of the myth that root canals are dangerous. In this version, the infection removed by the restorative dentistry treatment can easily spread to other parts of your body. This somehow causes a cancer, arthritis, and just about any ailment you can think of.
The truth is that removing infected dental pulp simply cannot create these kind of medical problems. Cancer is not caused by bacteria. Plus, our dental team is removing infection, not spreading it around. Do you think that using antibacterial soap would make you sick?
Myth 5: Infections like these always come back, so root canal therapy needs to be redone every few years. A common myth is that root canals are always temporary. Some believe they need to be redone every so often because the infection in the dental pulp can never truly be removed.
There are very rare cases when a root canal misses a tiny portion of the infection and needs to be done a second time. But by far, root canals are only done once. Our dentists will even flush your roots (or the canals inside your teeth) to make sure the infection is gone.
Myth 6: Root canals are very painful. This myth is easily the biggest and most persistent of the bunch. Tell people you have to get root canal therapy, and they will likely wince and offer condolences. A long, long time ago, root canals might have been painful. But dentistry has changed a lot since then.
Simply put, root canal therapy is not unusually painful. With local anesthetic, most patients feel almost no discomfort during the restorative dentistry treatment.
If you have a toothache, it might be something simple — but it could be an infection. Thankfully, root canal therapy can save your tooth. Call us today at 918-925-9687.