Root Canals: Some Kind of Monster?
It’s considered to be the most feared procedure within the annals of the dental industry and the name itself continues to invoke a since dread amongst patients across the world. Because of this, Root Canals have become etched in the psyche of the general populace, as dentistry’s equivalent of the boogeyman! However, despite its scary reputation, few people truly take the time to ask themselves just what exactly a root canal is?
Indeed, like many supposedly scary subjects, there are numerous misconceptions, and outright falsehoods that surround the root canal procedure. While some of these pretenses/beliefs can be dispelled as myths, others may contain partial truths or exaggerations, thus making it difficult to discern fact from fiction. Therefore, in the section below we will address some of the most common myths surrounding root canals in attempt to put some of these long-held fears to rest once and for all!
Root Canals: The Truth
The purpose for receiving root canal therapy is pretty simple; if the pulpitis or pulp of a tooth becomes infected, the exposed nerves will typically begin to ache and become extremely sensitive to the touch. This generally occurs due to an exposed root or cracked/damaged tooth and will undoubtably become worse as time goes on.
Therefore, to alleviate this pain you require root canal therapy! The term root canal; however, refers not to any dental procedure, but rather to the pulp-based chambers and canals within and around the tooth. Much like trees and plants, these chambers and canals serve as the inner source of nourishment or (to put it bluntly) guts/roots of the tooth.
The procedure often mistakenly known as a “root canal”, is correctly known as endodontic therapy, and rather than the boogeyman, this procedure is actually something of an angel in disguise. “Endo” being the Greek word for inside, and “Odont” being Greek for tooth, is (as its name implies) the maintenance and restoration of the inner anatomy of your tooth, which as you will see here is often not what its perceived to be.
Related Article: Root Canal Symptoms: The Root of Your Fears
Myth Busters: Common Root Canal Therapy Myths Busted
Myth: The root canal therapy / treatment hurts.
Busted: A root canal/endodontic therapy is not designed to create pain, but rather to alleviate it. As mentioned previously, when the roots and nerves of a tooth are exposed, there is a strong possibility that pain will occur. However, by treating the infected tissue and sealing them off from receiving any further damage (with a crown or filling) the pain will be reduced and eventually cease entirely.
Myth: A root canal can require up to four or five separate appointments to treat.
Busted: While it’s true that the endodontic procedure may require 1-2 appointments to fully complete, requiring an excess of four or five appointments is a bit of an exaggeration. Obviously, each case is different as the extent of the damage and infection varies from one patient to another and may require the assistance endodontist (or oral surgeon) however, the treatment process itself essentially remains the same.
Myth: A root canal is only necessary when pain occurs
Busted: Although exposed or damaged roots typically cause significant pain, if the tooth is already dead this might not be the case. If the pulp and nerves within the tooth have died, you will likely not experience as much pain. Unfortunately, in this condition a tooth is ripe for infection or might be infected already. Therefore, to prevent the infection from spreading and causing further damage.
Myth: A root canal is a temporary solution
Busted: This is common misconception that is perhaps the byproduct of those whose treatment hasn’t gone as well as expected. While there have been instances of a tooth breaking shorty after it has been restored, such mishaps are not typical and usually only occur when a tooth is very brittle to begin with. Fortunately, thanks to numerous advancements in dental technology, the endodontic root canal therapy is generally considered a permanent solution, with a much higher success rate than ever before!
Don’t Be Fooled!
As hopefully you can surmise from this juncture, in spite of the hype and less than stellar reputation, the highly misunderstood root canal therapy is truly nothing scary at all. Yes, like the Loch Ness Monster, the Abominable Snowman, and the Boogeyman, this so-called monster is nothing more than myth and at Overland Park Dentistry we are more than happy to prove this to you!
Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventative, restorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.