Fact vs Fiction: Do Root Canals Hurt?
How many times have you backtracked from getting your root canal therapy because someone told you it hurts a lot? Quite often, isn’t it? While the complaint about excruciating pain might have been valid a few decades back, everything surrounding it is nothing but a complete myth.
If you have heard a few stories about root canal that have left you anxious, this article should be enough to clear all your impending doubts that you have in mind.
Table of Contents :-
Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye
- Myth: Root Canal Treatment is Painful
- Myth: You only Need a Root Canal When You are in Pain
- Myth: Tooth Extraction is Better than a Root Canal Treatment
- Myth: Getting a Root Canal Causes Other Illnesses
- Myth: Root Canal is a Long Procedure
- Myth: Crowns Cause Teeth to Need Root Canals
- Myth: Pregnant Women Can’t Have Root Canal
- Myth: After Having a Root Canal, the Pain Goes Away Immediately
- Take Away
1. Myth: Root Canal Treatment is Painful :-
While each one of us has different levels of pain tolerance, the latest advancements in dentistry assure maximum comfort of its patients during the procedure. These dental procedures are now done with effective anesthesia that helps eliminate the sensation of pain altogether.
A majority of the dentists suggest that the slight pain that a few patients feel might be due to the existing infection in the root canal. It has got nothing to do with the actual procedure. The irony is that the root canal treatment is specifically done to rid of pain and not the other way round.
So, to clarify the myth of, “Do root canals hurt?” They usually don’t.
2. Myth: You only Need a Root Canal When You are in Pain –
If you are experiencing persistent pain in your teeth, it is a symptom that you might need to undergo a root canal treatment; however, it is not the only symptom. Many patients complain about experiencing a jabbing pain in the bone of their teeth or a referred pain around the cheek or jaw.
Aside from pain, sudden sensitivity to hot or cold food, along with discoloration of the teeth is considered a preemptive sign of infection inside the root canal. So, you need to consider undergoing this treatment when you are experiencing these symptoms too.
Swollen gums or a cracked tooth/teeth are also a sign that your root canal might be infected and you need to consider undergoing the procedure.
3. Myth: Tooth Extraction is Better Than a Root Canal Treatment –
Tooth extraction is a comparatively cheaper procedure that takes less time than root canal therapy. However, thinking that one procedure is a replacement for the other is a complete myth. Root canal treatment is often required for treating infections and restoring an affected tooth. Tooth extraction is usually the last resort when there’s nothing else a dentist can do to prevent the tooth’s rotting.
A sudden tooth extraction also results in several consequences, contributing to TMJ pain. It also results in the movement of the opposing tooth due to the force of gravity.
4. Myth: Getting a Root Canal Causes Other Illnesses –
One of the most common myths that people have about root canals is that it causes cancer, although there is no scientific evidence. The budding myth is because of the age-old postulate by Dr. Weston Price that an untreated and open root canal without pulp becomes a home for bacterial growth.
Procedures back in the days were done with lesser care and in contaminated chambers. Over the years, medical science has evolved, and so have the latest innovations as well as the medical equipment used in dental procedures. The modern treatment sterilizes and fills in the extracted pulp after the completion of the procedure. This reduces the chances of re-infection to a great extent.
5. Myth: Root Canal is a Long Procedure –
Facts suggest that the root canal takes under 60 minutes, some even as less as 30 minutes.
Generally, the maximum that you might have to wait for is 90 minutes, mainly because of the anesthesia and the filling procedure. It takes time because the dentist needs to remove the infected pulp and fill the open space.
6. Myth: Crowns Cause Teeth to Need Root Canals –
The biggest myth about root canal therapy is that the crowns are responsible for forcing someone to undergo a root canal. Just because you have a crown on your tooth doesn’t mean your tooth will need to undergo a root canal.
If a crowned tooth needs to undergo root canal therapy, it is because it’s abscessed or the infection has further spread into the pulp of the crown.
7. Myth: Pregnant Women Can’t Have Root Canal –
A root canal is considered a safe treatment to undergo during pregnancy. It doesn’t impose any side-effects or complications on the actual fetus or the mother. Every woman’s body is different, so keeping open communication with the OBGYN before the treatment is often considered ideal.
One of the primary reasons why root canal therapy is considered unsafe for a few pregnant women is because of their heightened susceptibility to infections, delayed healing and recovery after the treatment. Generally, dentists avoid doing the treatment in the first trimester of the pregnancy.
8. Myth: After Having a Root Canal, the Pain Goes Away Immediately –
Some patients have this misconception that their toothache will magically vanish right after the root canal treatment. That doesn’t happen at all. You can expect a gradual decrease in the pain, but nothing is achieved immediately. A mild degree of pain generally persists for up to two weeks after the treatment.
The mild pain can be remedied with anti-inflammatory and pain-relief medications. The attaching ligament between the teeth and the bone swells up after the treatment, which is the primary cause behind the pain.
Dentistry has undergone multiple refinements over time. So, many of the myths like, “Is root canal painful?” and a few others like the ones above correspond to the complications that marked the medical practice decades back. Instead of canceling your procedure with your dentist after listening to these random myths, we’d suggest you fact check them from credible sources first.