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.



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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.