A Root canal is often thought of as a scary, painful, and lengthy procedure. However, most of these assumptions are just myths that have been circulating for years.
In this post, our dentists in Ballantyne will debunk 7 common myths about root canals. They’ll also explain what to expect during a root canal treatment and answer some FAQs about root canal treatment in Ballantyne, Charlotte, NC to ease your concerns.
What Is A Root Canal?
Sometimes, harmful bacteria can invade a tooth’s pulp and trigger an infection or decay. In such instances, root canal therapy – typically just called a root canal – is required to salvage and repair damaged teeth instead of removing them. The root canal procedure involves extracting the infected pulp located inside a tooth to prevent further decay or damage. Ultimately, it concludes with sealing the tooth with a filling or a crown to prevent reinfection.
The term “root canal” is derived from removing the pulp and cleaning the canals in the infected tooth’s root. Decades ago, this procedure was painful and scary. However, thanks to local anesthetics and advancements in dental technology, most people experience little or no pain during treatment. Root canal alternatives include tooth extractions to remove the damaged tooth and dental replacement with a dental bridge, implant, or removable partial denture.
7 Common Myths About Root Canals
Myth #1: Root Canal Treatments Hurt
This is probably the most common myth associated with root canal treatment. According to a survey by the American Association of Endodontists, 67% of Americans cite fear of pain as their major concern about getting a root canal.
However, with modern anesthetics and techniques, root canal treatment is no longer painful but similar to what you’ll feel when getting a dental filling. The pain you experience before the procedure is often much worse than the discomfort of the pressure you’ll feel on your tooth during treatment. Additionally, your Ballantyne, Charlotte dentists, Dr. Aten and Dr. Garofalo, have expertise in managing dental pain and can mitigate it swiftly.
Myth #2: Root Canals Cause Illnesses
Another common myth is that root canal treatments cause illnesses or make people prone to getting sick in the future. However, no scientific evidence is available to back up these claims. A root canal is a safe and effective procedure that can save a damaged or infected tooth without causing illness.
Myth #3: Root Canals Require Multiple Long Appointments
Some people believe that root canal treatments require long or multiple appointments. However, with modern techniques, most cases can be completed in a single dental visit of 60 – 90 minutes. Some root canals may require two dental appointments. However, this only happens in specific cases based on the severity and type of infection and inflammation.
Myth #4: Pulling A Tooth Is Better
It is generally preferable to save a natural tooth with a root canal rather than an extraction. This is because removing a tooth without a replacement plan can result in other dental problems, such as shifting teeth, difficulty chewing, and jawbone deterioration. Moreover, root canal treatments’ success rate is high, and most will last a lifetime.
However, some patients may extract an infected tooth because they believe it will eventually crack and need removal. If this concerns you, consulting with your dentist is important to develop the best treatment plan for your needs.
Myth #5: Tooth Pain Equals Root Canal
There are two sides to this myth about toothaches. One side suggests that any toothache is a cause for concern, leading to fearful thoughts of root canals. However, toothaches can be caused by several factors, such as gum disease, cracked teeth, tooth decay, and sinus pressure, and not all require a root canal. The need for a root canal arises only when your tooth’s pulp gets infected.
The other side of the myth suggests that you do not need a root canal if you are not experiencing any pain. However, infected teeth may not always cause a toothache. Hence, it is crucial to consult your Ballantyne dentists to determine if a root canal is needed even when you have no painful symptoms.
Myth #6: Root Canals Remove the Roots of Your Tooth
During a root canal procedure, your dentist will extract the infected or inflamed tissue, the pulp, and the tooth’s nerve from within the crown and roots of your infected tooth. However, the roots are left in place since they anchor your tooth to the jawbone, making it essential to preserve them.
Myth #7: Teeth Are Fixed Once My Root Canal Is Done
Completing a root canal is just the initial step in restoring your tooth’s health. Following a root canal, a temporary filling is placed in the tooth, and a permanent restoration is required after two to three weeks.
We can provide information on the options for a permanent dental restoration after the root canal procedure. While a dental crown is the most common choice, a porcelain onlay is a viable alternative that can help preserve your natural tooth structure while ensuring safety.
When Do You Need Our Root Canal Treatment in Ballantyne?
You might wonder, “what causes a root canal infection?” and “how do I know if I need a root canal?” A root canal infection is caused by dental decay, a cracked or damaged tooth, or an avulsed tooth that allows bacteria to penetrate and infect the pulp, causing inflammation and pain. However, in some cases, you may not experience painful root canal symptoms even though your tooth’s pulp is infected. The following symptoms may indicate that you need root canal therapy:
- Persistent tooth pain: Various dental problems can cause tooth pain. However, root canal therapy may be necessary if the pain is deep within the tooth and doesn’t go away or if the discomfort extends to the jaw, face, or adjacent teeth.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold substances: If you experience pain in your tooth when you consume hot or cold substances, it may indicate the need for root canal treatment, especially if the pain persists for more than a few seconds.
- Gum boil: You may notice a boil or pimple on your gums discharging pus, causing an unpleasant taste or odor.
- Swollen gums: When a tooth is infected, pus may accumulate in the surrounding area, leading to swollen or tender gums.
- Tooth discoloration: Infected tooth pulp can cause a tooth to darken due to poor blood supply.
- Pain upon pressure: If you experience pain when biting down or applying pressure to your tooth, it could mean that the nerves around the pulp are damaged.
- Swollen jaw: In some cases, pus may not drain from the infected site, resulting in visible jaw swelling.
- Loose tooth: The pus from the infected pulp can soften the bone supporting the tooth, causing it to feel loose.
- A cracked or chipped tooth: Bacteria can reach the pulp of a tooth when it is cracked or chipped, necessitating root canal therapy.
What Happens During A Root Canal Procedure?
Before the procedure, your dentist will x-ray the affected tooth to determine the extent of damage and if a root canal is viable. Suppose you’re a good candidate for the procedure. In that case, your dentist will numb the affected area with a local anesthetic and create a small access hole in the top of the tooth to reach the pulp chamber and root canals.
Using specialized tools, your dentist will remove the infected or inflamed pulp tissue from the tooth’s interior, cleaning and shaping the root canals as they work. Once the pulp tissue has been removed, the dentist will fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha and seal it with a temporary filling.
After the root canal procedure, your tooth may be sensitive for a few days. However, your dentist will prescribe over-the-counter pain medications to relieve the pain. Your dentist may also recommend placing a permanent restoration like a crown to protect your tooth and restore its function.
How Long Does A Root Canal Take To Heal?
The healing time after a root canal procedure can vary depending on several factors. This includes the severity of the infection or inflammation leading to the procedure and how well the patient takes care of the tooth afterward.
Typically, the recovery time lasts less than a week. However, contact your dentist if you experience severe discomfort or pain that lasts longer than a week. In addition, maintaining good oral hygiene habits, including regular brushing and flossing, is important to prevent further problems in the affected tooth or surrounding teeth.
Quality Root Canal Procedures in Ballantyne, Charlotte, NC
Root canal infection can lead to pain, teeth sensitivity, and other awful symptoms. Fortunately, root canal therapy is here to save the day, bring you out of pain, and save your natural teeth.
If you need quality and affordable root canal treatments in Ballantyne, Charlotte, NC, Aten & Garofalo Dentistry is your go-to practice. Our friendly dental professionals, Dr. Deborah Aten and Dr. Anthony Garofalo are experienced in root canals and are dedicated to providing patients with the best and painless dental care. We also offer other innovative dental services and procedures to preserve oral health, restore teeth, and help you achieve the smile of your dreams.
Don’t let myths or rumors about root canals stop you from getting treatment. Schedule an appointment with our Ballantyne, Charlotte, NC dentists today to learn more about this procedure and restore your oral health!