Root canal treatment—also referred to as “endodontic therapy”—is probably one of the less “popular” types of restorative dental services among patients. Fortunately, technology and treatment methods have come a long way over the last several years. Yet, there are several misconceptions about getting root canals. Here are just a few you’ll want to know the truth about:
It’s Painful to Get a Root Canal
Just like a crown or filling, it shouldn’t hurt to get a root canal. Modern numbing medication (local anesthetic) is very effective, so the only thing you should feel is a bit of pressure. Endodontic treatment is meant to treat and eliminate tooth pain, not cause additional discomfort. Getting a root canal can be practically pain-free if you manage the infection quickly enough. But if it’s delayed for too long, you can put yourself in a lot of unnecessary discomfort.
I Don’t Need a Root Canal Because My Tooth Doesn’t Hurt
Never base the need for dental care on the level of discomfort you’re experiencing. Dying or abscessed teeth can pose life-threatening infections at times, yet never cause discomfort. These areas of infection can seep into the face (and in rare circumstances, your brain) requiring emergency medical care. Instead of basing treatment urgency on how you feel, it’s best to evaluate the tooth with an X-ray to see just how deep the infection goes. When you treat it early enough, you can prevent the infection from spreading to adjacent teeth.
It’s Better to Just Pull the Tooth
Removing a tooth creates an extra space in your bite, which can lead to an entire host of additional concerns. When a tooth goes missing, it needs to be replaced fairly quickly. Otherwise, other teeth in your bite will start to shift, drift out of place, or even “super-erupt” as they look for a biting partner. The best option for replacing a tooth is usually a dental implant or bridge. Partial dentures are another option.
However, the better, less-invasive, more affordable, and preferred standard is to preserve the natural tooth you already have. In this case, get a root canal to avoid an extraction altogether.
I’ll Have to Sleep Through the Appointment
It may come as a surprise, but getting a root canal doesn’t have to feel much different than any other basic dental treatment. While some people may want a mild analgesic like nitrous oxide sedation (laughing gas) you really don’t need to necessarily “sleep” through the appointment. Depending on the number of roots your particular tooth has, some visits can last a little longer than others. Dr. Megens will work with you to discuss your comfort level and identify the best plan of action to ensure a pleasant experience.
Reserve an Exam Today
Do you suspect that you need a root canal or want a second opinion about endodontic treatment? Contact Legacy Dental in Temple today to reserve an exam with Dr. Megens. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.