Common Root Canal Myths & What to Know

| May 23, 2018

Root canals have a bad rap. If there’s one dental procedure that strikes terror in the heart of patients more than any other, usually it’s the root canal.

Yet, a root canal is actually pretty simple—it involves nothing more than removing the damaged area of a tooth, then cleaning and disinfecting the tooth, before sealing it back up. Now that you have the basics, let’s debunk some of the common myths surrounding root canals.

1. Root Canals Are Extremely Painful.

No, no, no! Admittedly, in the old days root canal therapy was far different than it is today—that’s why this procedure got such a bad rap to begin with. However, during today’s root canals, patients are fully anesthetized during the procedure and usually don’t feel a thing.

When patients seek root canals, oftentimes they’re already in a lot of pain from tooth decay. Root canals remove the decay, so patients can once again feel comfortable and pain-free.

2. If You’re Not Experiencing Pain, a Root Canal is Unnecessary.

While it’s true that many patients who seek root canals are in pain, that isn’t always the case. It IS possible to need a root canal and experience no pain whatsoever. If the pulp inside the tooth is damaged or infected, you definitely need a root canal whether you’re experiencing pain or not.

3. Root Canals Cause Illness.

As you know, the Internet is filled with misinformation. This myth would be a prime example of that. This claim was based on a poorly done study almost a century ago, and it’s since been debunked. Root canals don’t cause cancer, heart disease, or any other disease you may have read about.

By contrast, poor dental health has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, stroke, and dementia. Bottom line? It’s far better to get a needed root canal than it is to skip it!

4. It’s Better to Have a Tooth Pulled than to Get a Root Canal.

When possible, it’s always best to leave natural teeth in place. If we recommend root canal treatment, that’s because it’s your best option—extraction should be a last resort and only performed when medically necessary.

5. Root Canals Require Multiple Lengthy Appointments.

The number of appointments for a root canal varies. As we mentioned, root canal therapy involves cleaning and shaping the root canal system prior to filling and sealing the tooth. In some cases, we clean and shape the root canal in one appointment, then fill and seal the tooth during a second appointment. However, if your tooth still contains some live pulp, we’ll often perform the root canal in just one visit.

As for the appointment length, most single root canal appointments take between 30-60 minutes. In some cases, appointments last as long as 90 minutes, particularly if your case is more involved.

We hope this clears up some of the myths about root canals! If you’re experiencing tooth pain—or are just due for a checkup—we encourage you to set up an appointment online with Grandview Dental. You can also call us at 1-614-486-7378. We’re pleased to offer evening appointments for your convenience.