Myths About Root Canals and Root Canal Pain

Posted by on Jan 3, 2014

There are many misconceptions surrounding root canal treatment and whether patients experience root canal pain. Your dentist or endodontist can answer many of your questions, and if you still have concerns, it is often wise to seek a second opinion.
Myth #1—Root canal treatment is painful.
Myth #2—Root canal treatment causes illness.
Myth #3—A good alternative to root canal treatment is extraction (pulling the tooth).

 

Myths vs. Facts

Myths vs. Facts

 

The first myth —Root canal treatment is painful.

Truth—Root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it.

The perception of root canals being painful began decades ago but with modern technologies and anesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. In fact, a recent survey showed that patients who have experienced root canal treatment are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not had root canal treatment.
Most patients see their dentist or endodontist when they have a severe toothache. The toothache can be caused by damaged tissues in the tooth. Root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, thereby relieving the pain you feel.

The second myth —Root canal treatment causes illness.

The myth: Patients searching the Internet for information on root canals may find sites claiming that teeth receiving root canal  treatment contribute to the occurrence of illness and disease in the body. This claim is based on long-debunked and poorly designed research performed nearly a century ago by Dr. Weston A. Price.
The truth: There is no valid, scientific evidence linking root canal-treated teeth and disease elsewhere in the body. Decades of research since the 1930s have contradicted Dr. Price’s findings and more recent research continues to support the safety of dental treatment as it relates to overall health.
The presence of bacteria in teeth and the mouth has been an accepted fact for many years. But the presence of bacteria does not constitute “infection” and is not necessarily a threat to a person’s health. Bacteria are present in the mouth and teeth at all times, even in teeth that have never had a cavity or other trauma. Research shows that the healthy immune system takes care of bacteria in a matter of minutes.
When a severe infection in a tooth requires endodontic treatment, that treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal and prevent re-infection of the tooth.

The third myth—A good alternative to root canal treatment is extraction (pulling the tooth).

Truth—Saving your natural teeth, if possible, is the very best option.
Nothing can completely replace your natural tooth. An artificial tooth can sometimes cause you to avoid certain foods. Keeping your own teeth is important so that you can continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary to maintain the proper nutrient balance in your diet. If your dentist recommends extraction, ask whether root canal treatment is an option.
Endodontic treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulp and is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant.
Endodontic treatment also has a very high success rate. Many root canal-treated teeth last a lifetime.
Placement of a bridge or an implant will require significantly more time in treatment and may result in further procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.
Millions of healthy root-canal treated teeth serve patients all over the world, years and years after treatment. Those healthy teeth are helping patients chew efficiently, maintain the natural appearance of their smiles and enhance their enjoyment of life. Through endodontic treatment, endodontists and dentists worldwide enable patients to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.

 

References

1. Easlick K: An Evaluation of the Effect of Dental Foci of Infection on Health. JADA 42:615-686, 694-697, June 1951. 2. Grossman L: Root Canal Therapy. 4th edition, Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia, 15-40, 1955. 3. Grossman L: Focal Infection: Are Oral Foci of Infection Related to Systemic Disease? Dent ClinN Amer, 749-63, Nov. 1960. 4. Bender TB, Seltzer S, Yermish M: The Incidence of Bacteremia in Endodontic Manipulation. Oral Surg 13(3):353-60, 1960. 5. Goldman M, Pearson A: A Preliminary Investigation of the Hollow-Tube Theory in Endodontics: Studies with Neo-tetrazolium. J Oral Therapeutics and Pharm, 1(6):618-26, May 1965. 6. Tomeck C: Reaction of Rat Connective Tissue to Polyethylene Tube Implants. Part. I. Oral Surg 21(3):379-87, March 1966. 7. Torneck C: Reaction of Rat Connective Tissue to Polyethylene Tube Implants. Part. II. Oral Surg 24(5):674-83, Nov. 1967. 8. Phillips J: Rat Connective Tissue Response to Hollow Polyethylene Tube Implants. J Canad Dent Assoc 33(2):59-64, Feb. 1967. 9. Davis M, Joseph S, Bucher J: Periapical and Intracanal Healing Following Incomplete Root Canal Fillings in Dogs. Oral Surg 31(5):662-675, May 1971. 10. Baumgarther J, Heggers J, Harrison J: The Incidence of Bacteremias Related to Endodontic Procedures. I. Nonsurgical Endodontics. J Endodon 2(5):135-40, May 1976. 11. Ehrrnann E: Focal Infection: The Endodontic Point of View. Oral Surg 44:628-34, Oct. 1977. 12. Wenger J, Tsaknis P, delRio C, Ayer W: The Effects of Partially Filled Polyethylene Tube Intraosseous Implants in Rats. Oral Surg 46:88-100, July 1978. 13. Delivanis P, Snowden R, Doyle R: Localization of Blood-borne Bacteria in Instrumented Unfilled Root Canals. Oral Surg 52(4):430-32, Oct. 1981. 14. Grossman L: Puipless Teeth and Focal Infection. J Endodon 8:S18-S24, Jan. 1982. 15. Torabinejad M, Theofilopoulos A, Ketering J, Bakiand L: Quantitation of Circulating Immune Complexes, Immunoglobulins G and M, and C3 Complement Component in Patients with Large Periapical Lesions. Oral Surg 55(2):186-90, Feb. 1983. 16. Delivanis P, Fan V: The Localization of Blood-borne Bacteria in Instrumented Unfilled and Overinstrumented Canals. J Endodon 10(1 1):521-24, Nov. 1984. 17. Benatti 0, Valdrighi L, Biral R, Pupo J: A Histological Study of the Effect of Diameter Enlargement of the Apical Portion of the Root Canal. J Endodon 11(10):428-34, Oct. 1985. 18. Wu M, Moorer W, Wesselink P: Capacity of Anaerobic Bacteria Enclosed in a Simulated Root Canal to Induce Inflammation. Intemat Endodon J 22:269-77, Nov./Dec. 1989. 19. Schonfeld SE. Oral Microbial Ecology. In: Slots J, Taubman M, eds. Contemporary Oral Microbiology and Immunology. St. Louis: Mosby Year Book, 1992:267-274. 20. Wilson W, Taubert K, et al. Prevention of Infective Endocarditis: Guidelines From the American Heart Association, J Amer Heart Assoc 2007;116:1736-54. 21. Lockhard P, Bolger A, et al. Periodontal Disease and Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease: Does the EvidenceSupport an Independent Association? Circulation 2012;125:2520-2544.
Dr. JR Buenazeda started his practice in 2006 and since then has performed numerous root canal treatments. Up to this date, his success rate is more than 95%. He believes that root canal treatment doesn’t need to be painful nor feared – with proper education and a good treatment experience, he aspires to change the mindset of his patients about root canal treatment.

 

Source: https://www.aae.org