3 Myths About Root Canals

3 Myths About Root Canals

Team Root Canal

Root canals have the unfortunate stigma of being lengthy procedures that can be uncomfortable to endure. However, they often aren't as difficult as most people think they are. This blog addresses some of the common misconceptions about root canals to help ease your concerns. 

Myth #1: Every Toothache Requires a Root Canal

Many individuals mistakenly think that every toothache needs a root canal to repair the tooth. Thankfully, this isn't true. Instead, the general public needs to understand that many issues of sensitivity or inflammation in a tooth are reversible and temporary. Only when the nerve and blood vessel tissue within a tooth have irreversible, permanent damage from bacterial infection or trauma is a root canal necessary.

Not every problem with a tooth requires a root canal. However, here are a few signs that usually indicate that a root canal is needed:

  • Tooth pain after consuming cold food or liquid that lasts over ten seconds
  • Spontaneous pain occurring when not eating or drinking anything
  • Gum swelling near the end of the tooth's root(s)

If you exhibit any of these signs, don't ignore them. Instead, make a dental appointment for an evaluation as soon as you can.

Myth #2: You Must Be Sedated for a Root Canal

While you certainly can be sedated during a root canal if you would like, it's not required. Many dental patients, due to fear or anxiety, request sedation so they can sleep through a root canal treatment.

However, others fear the sedation more than they fear the procedure itself. This misconception might cause them to avoid proceeding with crucial dental treatment. Patients who need a root canal should discuss the various options for relaxation or sedation during their treatment with their dental provider. Alternative options include local anesthetic only or laughing gas.

Myth #3: Root Canals Can Cause Cancer

Unfortunately, this root canal myth has gained popularity recently as a conspiracy theory. The claim is that over 90 percent of cancer patients have had a previous root canal treatment. While that statistic may be true (although obtaining accurate numbers is difficult), it only implies a correlation. It's essential to understand and make the distinction between correlation and causation. A correlation can be a simple coincidence. Causation means that one thing causes another.

Currently, no research exists supporting a claim that root canals cause cancer. The link between the two probably has more to do with the infections and inflammation that lead to the need for root canal treatments instead of the treatment that removes those infections and inflammation. Some research shows a link between chronic infection/inflammation and cancer. Considering this, one could argue that not having a root canal treatment increases the risk of cancer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure that removes infected pulp from a tooth and covers the hole with a crown.

Is a Root Canal Painful?

Most patients find the discomfort of a root canal similar to a cavity filling. The discomfort usually subsides within about 24-48 hours post-procedure. However, you may have some tenderness or mild discomfort when biting down for a couple of days after the procedure. You can take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain reliever like ibuprofen to help.

Learn More About Root Canals from The Smile Architects

At The Smile Architects, we aim to educate our patients and the general public on various dental procedures. We want you to have the facts so you can make the right decisions about your dental health and the various treatments available for your condition. Call 704-875-1621 or contact us today to learn more about root canals and schedule an appointment.