Three Common Misconceptions About Root Canals

Any dental patient who is told that a root canal is necessary to repair a cavity that has expanded into the dental pulp will no doubt feel wary regarding the procedure. Unfortunately, the root canal procedure has a terrible reputation. 

There are not only rampant misconceptions regarding the pain caused by the root canal procedure, but also regarding consequences and alternatives to the procedure. 

The following are three of the most widespread misconceptions about root canal treatment, which is a form of endodontic therapy. 

The root canal procedure is extremely painful

Although a root canal can often involve some discomfort, in the long run it will relieve or even prevent pain resulting from a cavity that has invaded a patient's dental pulp.

In some ways, the idea that the root canal procedure is extremely painful is promulgated by lingering testimonies from those who had root canals years ago. A modern procedure is significantly less painless than a root canal procedure performed decades ago.

Usually, a dental patient finds out they need a root canal after experiencing a severe- even debilitating- toothache. In the end, a root canal will end this pain and prevent the further spread of decay in the mouth.

Root canals can cause illness and infection elsewhere in the body

Patients are typically aware of the fact that a root canal is caused by an infection in the mouth. A misconception regarding root canals has developed that mistakenly implies that root canals can spread this infection to other parts of the body. This is a long-debunked myth that is not in any way backed up by scientific evidence. 

The root canal procedure will eliminate a bacterial infection in an infected tooth. The only plausible scenario that could result in the spread of such an infection throughout the body is if the tooth is left alone to decay further and potentially infect surrounding areas. 

Tooth extraction is an alternative to a root canal

Even if your dentist recommends tooth extraction because of a severe infection, you should really ask if a root canal might instead remedy the situation. Tooth extraction is inevitably a headache when it comes time to replace the extracted tooth. 

Endodontic treatment is more cost-effective than tooth extraction and will probably result in less discomfort than extracting and replacing a tooth. If a tooth is extracted, it's important to understand that a bridge or implant will be necessary afterwards, and this sometimes applies in regards to broken tooth repair. This will increase both the expense and the discomfort of treating an infection of the dental pulp.