Why Do Root Canals Get Such A Bad Rap?

Root canals have been around for a long time and are a very common dental procedure. However, despite their success rate, people still fear getting a root canal. The reason for this negative perception is mostly due to the misconceptions surrounding the procedure. Root canals are generally simple procedures that can save a patient from having to extract a tooth and reduce the risk of other dental problems. Here's why root canals have such a bad reputation and why it is so undeserved.

What Is a Root Canal?

The American Association of Endodontics defines a root canal as a dental procedure where the "inflamed or infected pulp is removed, and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed." The pulp is the soft tissue inside a tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. This procedure is usually recommended instead of extracting the tooth.

Who Needs a Root Canal?

A root canal is usually recommended for people who have a deep cavity that has progressed to the inner layer of enamel. Bacteria has breached the tooth through a crack, a chip, or the cavity itself, causing an infection. If left untreated, this can lead to an abscess and other serious dental problems.

Are Root Canals Painful?

One of the most common myths about root canals is that they are extremely painful. Yes, there is pain — a lot of it. However, the pain is not from the root canal but rather from the infected tooth. The root canal actually relieves the pain. As soon as your dentist or oral surgeon finishes the root canal, the pain dissipates. In other words, the root canal is the unsung hero, not the villain it is often made out to be.

When Should You Consider a Root Canal Over Pulling a Tooth?

It is always better to save a tooth when possible. A root canal is usually recommended when the dental pulp inside the tooth is inflamed or infected. During a root canal, the infected tissue is removed and replaced with a special filling material. After this, the dentist will seal the tooth to protect it from further damage.

If left untreated, an inflamed or infected tooth can lead to severe dental problems and other medical conditions. Root canals are preferred over pulling the tooth out since they allow the patient to keep the natural tooth, which helps maintain spacing in your mouth and good dental hygiene.

Root canals are misunderstood. They don't deserve the bad reputation that they have. In fact, root canals are essential dental procedures that can save a patient's tooth, prevent further damage, and — most importantly — relieve pain. Consult your dentist if you experience any pain, sensitivity, or swelling around your teeth to discuss the option of a root canal. Don't let the myths stop you from getting the essential dental care you need.