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If the possibility of a root canal makes you feel uneasy, you’re not the only one. However, millions of root canal procedures are performed every year to save or strengthen an infected tooth.
They’re incredibly safe and effective, despite the myths you may have heard or read on the internet.
If your dentist recommends a root canal, you can help calm your nerves by educating yourself on common root canal myths and on the reality of the procedure.
Myth 1: If you have tooth pain, you will need a root canal.
With most dental issues, you won’t feel pain until the problem has become severe. (This is one key reason why visiting your dentist regularly is so important).
Consequently, it’s a common myth that all tooth pain signifies a need for a root canal. There are many reasons why you may be experiencing tooth pain.
For example, toothaches can be caused by cavities, cracked teeth, gum disease, and sinus pressure. While all of these issues should be addressed by your dentist or health professional, they don’t automatically require a root canal.
In fact, a root canal treatment is only necessary when the pulp of a tooth is infected.
Myth 2: Getting a root canal is painful.
Modern technology is a wonderful thing. With present-day anesthetics and procedures, getting a root canal is as easy as filling a cavity.
You won’t feel any more pain than when you have a cavity filled. Endodontists are trained in pain management and know how to minimize discomfort during the procedure.
A root canal removes the damaged part of the tooth and, consequently, stops the pain from the toothache. You will experience less pain after your root canal than you did before.
Myth 3: Pulling a tooth is better than a root canal.
There is no perfect replacement for a natural tooth. While dental implants have come a long way and adequately restore the function and appearance of your mouth, it’s still not the real thing.
If possible, saving your natural tooth rather than extracting it is always better. A tooth that has undergone a root canal treatment can still last a lifetime and delivers optimal performance and appearance.
Furthermore, the recovery time for a root canal is much shorter than extraction and dental implant placement. It also doesn’t put the supporting tissue and neighbouring teeth at risk.
Myth 4: Root canals cause illness.
Misinformation can spread on the internet like wildfire. It’s important not to believe everything you read online and trust your dental professionals.
There is no valid scientific evidence linking root canals to an increase in illness or disease.
This myth started more than 100 years ago from flawed research that has long since been debunked. Root canals have been proven to be absolutely safe and do not cause illnesses.
What to Really Expect From Your Root Canal
A root canal can be performed by either a dentist or an endodontist. An endodontist is a root canal specialist. Both will determine if you need a root canal by taking an x-ray of the affected tooth.
The first step is the administration of a local anesthetic or sedative. This ensures that you will not feel any pain or discomfort.
Next, the infected tooth is isolated using a dental dam. This prevents saliva or debris from contaminating the surgery location.
Your dentist or endodontist then removes the crown of the tooth and a drill is used to remove the decay, along with the infected pulp inside the tooth.
The roots of your tooth are cleaned and shaped. Medication may be applied to remove bacteria, and you may be prescribed antibiotics.
Once all the infected areas have been removed and the tooth disinfected, they fill the tooth with a temporary filling. You will need some time to heal before the permanent filling is applied.
The temporary filling is removed and replaced at your second appointment with a permanent filling or crown. The root channel is also permanently filled and sealed at this time.
Some soreness and pain are normal as the anesthetic wears off. Your dentist may prescribe a painkiller, or you may opt for over-the-counter pain medicine.
If the infection reaches the root of your tooth, then you may need to take antibiotics.
You will likely experience numbness for 2-4 hours after your procedure. We don’t recommend eating until the numbness is completely gone.
Eating softer foods and chewing on the opposite side of your mouth can help mitigate any discomfort you may feel for the first few days after your root canal.
Remember to stick to your good oral hygiene habits! You should brush your teeth twice a day and floss once daily.
Trust Bloor West Smiles for Your Root Canal Surgery in Toronto
While it may seem intimidating, root canal surgery is an extremely safe and effective procedure that eliminates the pain of an infected tooth and restores function.
These days, it’s a common dental procedure that shouldn’t hurt any more than filling a cavity.
Dr. Kostirko at Bloor West Smiles has completed thousands of successful root canals. His procedures are as simple and painless as possible. A root canal is the best way to save or strengthen your tooth if you're suffering from an infection.