When many patients first hear that they need root canal therapy in Tacoma, they are likely to be nervous or even frightened. Even though the procedure is used to save millions of teeth every year, about 15 percent of Americans will avoid the treatment. Such anxiety can be directly linked to the numerous myths about root canal therapy that have persisted over the years. Below are 4 examples of such myths – and the truth behind them that could help put worried patients at ease.
Myth #1: Root Canal Therapy Hurts a Lot
This is by far the most widespread misconception about root canal therapy. The treatment is actually no more painful than a number of routine procedures, including fillings for cavities. This is thanks to modern technology and anesthetics that make it easier than ever to keep a patient’s discomfort under control. Many patients will actually experience relief from pain once the infection that is causing their toothache has been removed.
Myth #2: Root Canal Therapy Can Lead to Illness
There are some claims that root canal therapy can increase the risk of illness. This myth is based on the findings of century-old research that has since been found to be improperly conducted, and the current understanding of dental medicine has cleared up many of the misconceptions regarding oral disease. Nowadays, there is no credible evidence linking root canals with other diseases.
Myth #3: It Is Better to Have a Tooth Extracted
Some patients believe that having a tooth removed is a preferable alternative to root canal therapy. The truth, of course, is that it is always better to take the option that preserves natural teeth for as long as possible. If a patient is able to save their tooth, they can continue to eat a healthy variety of foods. Also, while there are naturally several options for filling in the empty space of a smile, they tend to be much more costly in comparison to simply treating a tooth and repairing it with a crown.
Myth #4: Root Canals are Only Needed if the Tooth Hurts
While root canal therapy is often considered a solution for a persistent toothache, it is not used exclusively in cases where the patient is experiencing oral pain. In some situations, the pulp inside the tooth will have died completely. There will be no discomfort, but the infection will still be present and could still spread throughout the mouth, meaning a root canal will still be required.
It is up to the endodontist or dentist to make sure that patients are well-informed about the reality of root canals and what to expect from them. The more confident people are about the procedure, the more likely they are to seek the treatment they truly need to keep their smiles healthy and whole.
About the Author
Dr. Tina Olsson has been saving smiles for over 15 years now. She received her certificate in Endodontics from the University of Washington, and she has completed a four-year contract in the Army’s Health Professional Scholarship Program. She specializes in providing compassionate, gentle, and reliable endodontic care. To schedule an appointment at her practice, South Sound Endodontics, or to ask about root canal therapy, visit her website or call (253) 752-5511.