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Breaking Down Your Fear of the Root Canal

By Commonwealth DentistryMay 10, 2021Dental Learning Center
woman with tooth pain

Root Canals. Just the mere mention of the word may make you shudder. Root canal treatment is considered the most feared of all dental treatments. There are many rumors and myths surrounding root canal therapy, however, these are all unfounded. Here we will walk you through what are root canals and why you may need one. Plus we will help tackle any fear associated with rumors or myths you have heard.

Quick Fact: 97% of root canals are successful.

What is a root canal?

Root canal therapy is designed to remove bacteria from an infected root canal, prevent reinfection, and save the natural tooth. During a root canal, the dentist cleans and shapes the infected area before finally filling and sealing the root. After the procedure, the tooth may be capped with a crown.

Do I need a root canal?

Common reasons for root canals include a cracked tooth from an injury, genetics, deep cavities, or a previous infection. Signs or symptoms you might need a root canal:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Severe pain when biting or chewing
  • Pimples on the gum
  • Chipped tooth
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Deep decay and darkening of the gums

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Q: Are Root Canals Painful? A: Root Canals relieve pain

Many patients fear root canals because they think or have heard they are extremely painful. The truth: root canals are no more painful than having a tooth filled. Local anesthesia will be applied just before your procedure to numb the area. After that, you won’t feel much of anything.

Post procedure patients are in much less pain than prior. This is due is because the damaged tooth pulp that was creating the pain has been removed. The pulp is packed with nerves and blood vessels. You may have some minor discomfort afterward but this can easily be eliminated with over the counter pain meds.

Q: Are Root Canals Safe? A: YES!

There is some misinformation regarding root canal therapy and its relationship to disease out there. The idea that root canals may cause health issues down the line is completely false. The myth arose for research conducted by Dr. Weston Price in the early 1900s, however, his research has long since been discredited.  There is simply no valid scientific evidence linking root canals to disease elsewhere in the body. Root canal therapy is a safe and effective procedure that gets rid of bacteria causing infection and pain.

Q: Is it better to have my tooth extracted? A: No, the best option is to save your natural tooth.

Saving your natural teeth is always the best option because nothing artificial can replace the look and function of your natural teeth. 97% of root canals are successful. Extraction of a tooth should be left as a last result. This is because has a much higher incidence of bacteria entering your bloodstream. Root canals are also far less costly than an extraction because you will not need a bridge or an implant to fill in the missing tooth.

Q: I am not in pain anymore, do I still need a root canal? A: Don’t be fooled by lack of pain.

The infection hurts when it is inside the tooth pulp. This is the area that contains the nerves and blood vessels, if this area dies your pain may also subside. However, that doesn’t mean the infection went away. After the pain goes away you will often notice oozing pus and facial swelling as the infection travels down your roots. Therefore, do not postpone treatment because you are no longer in pain.

Q: Root Canals are time consuming? A: Not really.

A root canal can often be resolved in one to two appointments. Therefore, in terms of dental appointments root canals are swift. The first appointment treats the issue itself. The second is generally needed for follow up or to be capped with a crown.

As always the best medicine to treat any dental issue is prevention. However, we understand that despite our best efforts issues arise. Let Commonwealth Dentistry take the stress out of your root canal. We are highly trained and skilled professionals that provide the highest level of care when it comes to root canal therapy.


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Author Commonwealth Dentistry

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