If you had to choose the one dental procedure that scared you the most growing up (or even today), what would it be? For many people, that procedure would be the root canal. Kids in school would talk about it like it was some sort of punishment that the dentist gave to kids who weren’t taking care of their teeth. People talked about it being painful, that it would cause you to get sick afterward, or that your tooth would just get pulled anyway, so why bother with it? All of these myths have led to a fear of a dental treatment that is aimed at saving the life of your tooth.
With these myths, rumors, and misinformation comes a great misunderstanding of what root canal treatment does and why it is used. Well, all of those myths stop here. Today, Plymouth Dentistry will help you find out what is true and what is not, and you’ll finally get an idea of what root canal treatment is all about.
Five Myths About Root Canals
The first step in finding the truth about root canal treatment is finding out what isn’t true. Here are five common myths regarding root canals. Take a look, and you’ll see just how misunderstood this procedure has been over the years.
#1: “Root canals are where they remove the root of my tooth.”
This is not even close to being true. A root canal is a procedure that allows Dr. Feucht to remove damaged, infected, or soon-to-be infected material from the inner part of your tooth – or the canal(s) within the root. He carefully removes the nerve from the center of your tooth and takes the damaged pulp (spongy material surrounding the nerve) out as well. From there, the inner chamber of your tooth will get sanitized, typically with a saline mixture. Your tooth will be free from the dangers that come from a damaged nerve, but it will not be totally out of the woods just yet. You need to have the inner chamber of your tooth filled with something so that the structure of your tooth can remain strong. Dr. Feucht will insert a spongy material called gutta-percha to fill that void. After that, he will close access to the chamber with a dental filling, and your tooth will be sealed to keep out bacteria. At the end, you will have a tooth that is healthy, infection-free, and ready to be part of your great smile once again.
#2: “I don’t feel any pain, so I don’t need a root canal.”
Lack of pain is not at all an indication that you don’t need treatment. When your nerve gets damaged, it may die. A dead nerve will not transmit any type of pain signal to your brain. You won’t feel pain, but your nerve will be a danger to not only that tooth but the other teeth around it. Your dead nerve can lead to the formation of an abscess, and that needs to be taken care of quickly. The abscess will need to be drained and the dead nerve removed. At your routine checkup to our Plymouth, MI office, Dr. Feucht will be able to help you know if you need root canal therapy. Don’t let lack of pain fool you into thinking that your tooth is fine.
#3: “Root canals are really painful!”
This is one of the biggest myths regarding root canal treatment. Root canals are not the crazy, painful procedures that everyone makes them out to be. In fact, many times the nerve is already dead, so you won’t feel any pain. If your nerve is still alive, your root canal will feel like a dental filling. Dr. Feucht will numb the area before he begins to make sure that you are comfortable during the procedure.
#4: “It’s better just to have the tooth removed than go through a root canal.”
It is always better to save your real teeth if you can, and that is exactly what a root canal allows you to do. The last resort would be getting your natural tooth removed. Mother Nature gave you the perfect tools for their job when she gave you your teeth. Don’t give them up so easily.
#5: “Getting a root canal will make me sick.”
Some say that a root canal will let bacteria get into your tooth, and that you will get sick from this. They are talking about research that was conducted more than 100 years ago. A lot of medical advice from that time period needs to be taken with a grain (or truck full) of salt. No research in recent times has been able to replicate any of those early findings.