Most people cringe at the mention of the words 'root canal'. Root canals have gained a bad reputation over the years, mostly through myths that have been created around them. In reality, the root canal procedure plays an important role in ensuring dental health. It removes degenerative bacteria that cause your teeth and gums to rot and prevents the recurrence of infection.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
Let's take a closer look at what happens during the root canal process.
The human tooth is made of three different layers:
- a layer of enamel, the hard outer layer that has a protective function
- the dentine layer, which gives teeth their colour
- and the innermost layer called the pulp
The innermost layer, the pulp, contains nerves and blood vessels and other essential parts. Poor dental health and multiple dental procedures can start an infection in the outer layer, spreading right into the innermost layer if left unchecked. This can cause great pain and will need to be immediately treated with the root canal procedure at a professional dental clinic. The dentist will have to remove the affected area to ensure that the infection will not progress or spread any further. They then clean, disinfect, fill in and seal the area.
In the following section, let's discuss some of the most popular myths about root canals and the facts that dispel them. You can make a more informed decision about getting the treatment once you have all the facts.
Common Myths About Root Canals Busted
Myth 1: The Root Canal can cause illness
This myth is a commonly held belief, but it is far from true. A root canal can, in fact, prevent deadly infections from spreading in the body. If an infected tooth is left untreated, the infection can spread into the bloodstream and affect the rest of the body. Root canal therapy can clear the affected area and keep your mouth and body healthy. There is no evidence pointing to the root canal treatment causing any illness in the body.
Myth 2: Severe toothache is the sign that it is time for a root canal
A severe toothache usually indicates that you will need a root canal, but there may be times when there are other signs your body is giving you. The body can be quite creative in coping with pain, so the absence of pain can be deceptive. The best thing is to make dental check-ups a yearly routine. The dentist or endodontist can detect an infection before it becomes deadly or spreads too far and perform the root canal when required.
Myth 3: The root canal procedure can be very painful
Don't get your anxiety levels up believing this myth. The root canal procedure involves local anaesthesia to numb the area being treated. It is, in fact, the infected tooth that usually causes pain. With modern technology and medication, dentists can complete the procedure with minimal discomfort or pain for the patient.
Myth 4: The procedure involves removing the tooth from the root
Another big myth! The point of a root canal procedure is to save the tooth from extraction. The dentist works to remove infected tooth and pulp matter and clean up the remaining material. Since the roots anchor the tooth to the gums, the dentist knows that it is important to leave them in.
Myth 5: Multiple visits to the dentist are required to complete the procedure
If multiple dentist visits are one of the thoughts worrying you, you can rest assured that this is another myth about the root canal procedure. With advances in medical technology and procedure, root canal treatments are usually completed in one sixty-to-ninety-minute session. Once the root canal is done, follow-ups will only be prescribed to seal it with a crown to prevent bacteria from leaking into the canal.
Myth 6: An extraction will be better for the long-run
There are advantages to getting an infected tooth extracted. The most significant one is that you will be able to get the problem solved from the root. But, an extraction may not always be the best option. This procedure opens up many doors to complications. Once extraction is complete, there will need to be a follow-up for an implant or bridge. Adjacent teeth may require further procedures for support. Extraction may look like the quick and perfect solution, but an artificial tooth can never function as well as your natural tooth. So, a root canal must always be considered to save the natural tooth.
Also Read: How to Determine Dental Emergencies & Prevent Them
Myth 7: Root Canal process reduces the life span of the tooth
A professionally done root canal and tooth restoration combined with proper oral hygiene can keep a restored tooth functional for a lifetime. To make sure you get the maximum benefit, ensure that:
- you approach an endodontist (root canal specialist) for the procedure
- you complete the treatment with tooth restoration and crown placement. This is essential to ensure the health of your tooth
- you practise impeccable oral hygiene with regular dental visits for check-ups
If you are considering getting a root canal done, ensure that you visit a professional. Our highly qualified endodontists at 4 Squares Dentistry dental clinic, Medavakkam will ensure you have the best professional care.
Myth 8: The root canal procedure returns the tooth to normal health
The root canal is only the first step to restoring the health and function of your tooth. A temporary filling is put in place after the root canal. But it would be best if you did not stop with this. Since pulp and other infected tissue are removed from around the tooth, it can become brittle and dry. A permanent restoration with a crown is the best solution, but you have equally good options like porcelain onlays. These procedures restore the tooth to functionality, integrity, and strength.
Signs That Indicate You Need to See a Dentist
Root canals can treat various conditions like a cracked tooth, deep cavities, or issues from a previous filling. Look out for these symptoms which indicate that a visit to the dentist may be in order:
- A cracked or chipped tooth
- Sensitivity to cold or hot
- Pain while chewing
- Swollen, tender gums
- Darkening in the gums
- Pimples on gums
Getting symptoms to your dentist's attention is essential to save the tooth from further degeneration. The best plan is to make regular dental check-ups a part of your hygiene routine.
With modern methods and technology in dentistry, an endodontist can perform miracles in restoring your teeth to optimal health. Root canal treatments can be highly effective in saving teeth from extraction. It is time to trust the facts and research proving that root canals are an important part of dental health care. So the next time you find yourself experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, don't hesitate to take action and visit the endodontist immediately.