Common Myths About Root Canals

Common Myths About Root Canals

Team Root Canals

Each year, approximately 25 million root canals are performed, saving millions of natural teeth. Yet, despite the overwhelming success rate of this endodontic procedure (97% after 10 years), unfounded myths about root canals persist. Here is a look at 3 myths about root canals, and the truth about these procedures that save natural teeth.

Root Canal Myth: Root Canals Are Not Safe

Root canals are demonstrably safe when performed by an experienced endodontist. An endodontist is a dentist who underwent additional, advanced training to specialize in treating conditions affecting the pulp (interior) of the teeth. Endodontists therefore specialize in tooth disease, tooth pain, and tooth infections.

Myths purporting that root canals cause cancer couldn’t be further from the truth. On the contrary, numerous peer-reviewed studies spanning the last 100 years, have conclusively shown that root canal therapy is both safe and effective. Interestingly, one study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association Otolaryngology, showed that those who had undergone endodontic treatments such as root canal therapy had a 45% reduced risk of developing cancer.

Root Canal Myth: Root Canal Treatment is Painful

Root canals may not be fun, but they are no longer tedious, painful procedures. Before receiving local injections, the injection site is numbed with a topical anesthetic. This reduces the likelihood of pain from injections. Many patients don’t even feel the injections.

During the treatment, the entire area of the mouth that is being treated will be numb. Your endodontist will also provide you with a device called a mouth prop or a bite block that will keep your mouth open during your treatment, reducing strain and stress on the muscles in your face and jaw.

The entire treatment is often completed in less than 90 minutes. It is normal to experience some tenderness, swelling, or achiness in the jaw after a root canal, but any acute pain you were experiencing before the procedure is generally gone.

Root Canal Myth: Root Canals Fail Often

It is true that root canals can fail. Though the overwhelming majority are successful, a small percentage of procedures performed will fail to treat the problem. Root canals typically fail for one of the following reasons:

  • Bacteria remained inside the tooth
  • Complex root canals
  • Delayed dental crown placement
  • Contamination with saliva

Even though root canal failure is uncommon, if a root canal fails, endodontists can often still save the affected tooth with either endodontic retreatment (second root canal), or apical surgery (minimally invasive surgery to remove the very tip of the root).

Root Canals Preserve Natural Teeth

The truth about root canals is that they save tens of millions of natural teeth each year. Preserving the natural teeth lowers your risk of additional tooth loss, maintains the integrity of your jawbone, and keeps your facial structure intact as you age. If you’ve been told you need a root canal, it is best to follow your dentist’s recommendation and schedule an appointment with an experienced endodontist.

Frequently Asked Questions about Root Canals

What do I have to do to prepare for a root canal?

A root canal is a non-surgical endodontic treatment, so you do not need to restrict food or beverages before your procedure. If you are prescribed antibiotics before your procedure, be sure to take them exactly as prescribed.

How soon after a root canal can I eat?

You are welcome to eat as soon as any anesthesia wears off. You may be most comfortable chewing on the other side of your mouth for a few days.  Some patients find that soft foods are most comfortable for the first 24-48 hours.

Book Your Endodontic Appointment in Emond, OK

Located in Emond, Contemporary Endodontics of Oklahoma is convenient to Guthrie Piedmont, Arcadia, Nicols Hills, The Village, and Goldsby.  Led By Board Certified Endodontist Dr. Victoria J. Ball, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma County Dental Society, Contemporary Endodontics of Oklahoma is a top-reviewed endodontic practice.