Myth Busters: 5 Common Misconceptions About Root Canals

dental care

Dentistry is one of the top 10 most trusted and ethical professions in the United States. However, many people still experience anxiety when it comes to dental care, and one of the most feared procedures is the dreaded root canal. Of course, root canals aren’t that much different from a typical filling when it comes to the patient experience.

Still, common myths and misconceptions can leave patients feeling especially nervous when the time comes for a root canal procedure. To help set the record straight and put you at ease, here are a few common myths about root canals and the actual truth you need to know.

Myth #1: Root Canals Hurt

A root canal procedure should never hurt. Your dentist will numb the area completely with novocaine. If you do feel anything, you can raise your hand to let your dentist know so they can apply more novocaine. You may experience some pressure, and the sounds of the procedure may not be enjoyable, but the procedure isn’t painful. As we mentioned above, the experience is very similar to a filling.

Myth #2: Root Canal Procedures Take Multiple Visits

A root canal procedure only takes one office visit and typically lasts between two to three hours depending on the placement of the tooth. Your second appointment, if necessary, is to place the cap on the tooth to protect it from further decay. It’s recommended to have a cap placed over the tooth within two weeks of receiving the root canal to help protect your tooth. However, your dentist may want to wait for any swelling and inflammation to go down before you receive your cap.

Myth #3: Root Canals Can Make You Sick

Scientific evidence shows that people who have had root canals are at no greater risk of getting sick than those who haven’t had them. While you may be at risk of a tooth infection after your root canal procedure (as you would be after any procedure), your dentist will prescribe you an antibiotic to kill any bacteria that could potentially cause an infection.

Myth #4: Teeth That Have Had a Root Canal Will Eventually Fall Out

A root canal procedure doesn’t do any more harm to your tooth. It only gets rid of any pain that you may experience due to advanced tooth decay. During the root canal procedure, your dentist removes any remaining decay from the tooth before removing the pulp in the tooth and applying a temporary filling. A cap is later applied over the remaining tooth. However, while a cap helps to protect your tooth while also giving you the ability to chew food like usual, your tooth still has the ability to decay.

The only difference is that now, because the nerve pulp is removed, you won’t experience the pain associated with that decay. As a result of that decay, your tooth may eventually fall out. It’s for this reason that your dentist may suggest that you have your tooth pulled rather than getting a root canal if your tooth is too decayed already. If the tooth isn’t too decayed or if you’re still young, it’s often better to have a root canal so you can keep your tooth for as long as possible. This is because, when a tooth is removed, your other teeth will shift to try and close the space. Make sure that you’re using proper dental care and brushing your teeth regularly to prevent decay.

Myth #5: The Root of the Tooth Is Removed

During a root canal procedure, your dentist or endodontist isn’t actually removing or killing the roots in your tooth. In fact, there are often still nerves around the tooth in your gumline. Instead, what the dentist is doing is that they are removing the nerve pup inside your tooth, which prevents you from feeling the pain associated with that tooth’s decay. The root of the tooth itself is not removed.

Interested in Learning More About Root Canals?

If you need a root canal procedure or you suspect that a filling won’t be enough for one of your teeth, it may be in your best interest to contact Gainesville Dental Associates for a dental exam. Our professional dentists will help you determine what kind of dental work you need and what you can do to put your dental care back on track. To learn more about our dental care, root canal procedures, or other services, contact a Gainesville family dentist at our practice today.