Somewhere along the line, root canals got a bad reputation.
But the truth is that a root canal treatment can save a severely infected or abscessed tooth that might otherwise need to be extracted.
A root canal procedure consists of removing infected dental pulp, which is the inner part of a tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels, and replacing it with an inert rubber-like material. Then, the tooth is restored with a filling or dental crown.
If you’ve been told you need a root canal, getting a better understanding of what the procedure entails — as well as going to a highly skilled dentist like Dr. Jeffery Spilman, D.D.S. in St. Petersburg, FL — can help put you at ease!
In the meantime, read on to learn about three common misconceptions about root canal treatments. Then, schedule a consultation with Dr. Spilman by calling 727-645-4727.
1. Root Canals Are Painful And Unpleasant.
We’re familiar with the popular cliche when talking about something unpleasant: “I’d rather have a root canal!”
But what if we told you that much of the pain and discomfort you associate with a root canal actually comes from the infection, not the doctor or the procedure itself? Plus, recent technological advances and anesthetics make root canal treatment more comfortable than ever.
In fact, many people say that getting a root canal is no more uncomfortable than getting a cavity filled!
Still, the caring team at the office of Dr. Jeffery Spilman, D.D.S. will go the extra mile to ensure your comfort before, during and after your root canal treatment — or any procedure! We can provide cozy blankets or pillows to help you relax, or give you an iPad on which you can listen to music.
We also offer two dental sedation options if you want to feel even less stress and discomfort during your procedure.
Nitrous oxide is a fast-acting sedative, administered through a mask we place over your nose. After just a few deep breaths, you’ll feel a sense of euphoria or calm.
We also offer oral sedation, which is administered in the form of a pill you take before your appointment. You’ll arrive at the office feeling relaxed and ready for your dental work. Oral sedation often makes people feel drowsy or groggy, so if you choose this form of sedation, we ask that you arrange a ride to and from our office.
2. Root Canals Make You Sick.
At one point in time — before modern medicine — it was indeed thought that root canal treatments caused cancer and other illnesses. This likely stems from the early 1900s. A dentist named Dr. Price, who was well-respected at the time, began to doubt the efficacy of root canal treatment.
He became a proponent of what was known as the “focal infection theory,” claiming that many diseases like cardiac and circulatory diseases originated from root-filled teeth. By the 1950s, however, most people regarded Price’s theory as outdated. In 1951, the Journal of the American Dental Association actually published a special review of Price’s work and said they lacked “aspects of modern scientific research,” according to fact-checking website Snopes.
To this day, there’s no research supporting a causal link between root canal treatments and cancer. In fact, a 2013 study by the American Association of Endodontics actually found that people who had multiple root canal treatments experienced a reduced risk of cancer.
But even as recently as 2012, Price’s claims lived on and continued to be circulated — thanks to the internet.
3. It’s Better To Have Your Tooth Pulled Than To Have A Root Canal.
It’s always best to save your natural teeth! It maintains optimal oral health without having to go through subsequent procedures.
Once you have a tooth extracted, you’ll have to worry about replacing that tooth because missing teeth often make chewing and speaking difficult. Plus, gaps in your smile can compromise the alignment of the rest of your teeth and eventually lead to bone loss.
Root canal treatment has a 95 percent success rate, and once it’s over, the results can last a lifetime!
Save Your Natural Teeth With A Root Canal Procedure
If you’ve been putting off seeing a doctor about a tooth infection for fear you might need a root canal, hopefully this information has helped put you at ease. And if this is you, we want to help you get your oral health back on track.