“You need a root canal treatment.” Those are the words that patients often dread hearing their dentist say. If you believe that “root canal” is synonymous with pain, you are not alone. It is a common myth, widely perpetuated in Phoenix and around the world. Yes, we said myth. The fact is that today’s root canal treatment has a success rate well over 90 percent, and it is extremely comfortable.
What root canal treatment is
The procedure is actually very similar to a simple tooth filling, except it goes deeper. A filling involves removing diseased hard tissue from the outer layers of the tooth, and replacing it with a cosmetic dental material. In a root canal procedure, infected soft tissue is removed from the center of the tooth and replaced with a natural rubbery material called gutta percha. The outer layers of the tooth are then restored with standard filling material, and a crown may be placed. Without this treatment, the damaged tooth would continue causing pain, abscesses, or other symptoms until it was extracted or it fell out.
What root canal treatment isn’t
A procedure that has saved countless teeth from extraction, and saved countless patients from the miseries of recurring toothaches, should be regarded as a good thing. Unfortunately, root canal treatment is subject to relentless myths and misconceptions, many of which probably originated before the days of anesthetic or effective sterilization. However, like other medical and dental procedures, a modern root canal treatment does not resemble its predecessor.
Some of the most common root canal myths include:
- Extraction – Many people assume the tooth will need extraction later, and they wonder if it would be better to extract it now. However, most teeth are successfully saved with root canal treatment.
- Safety – A flawed study decades ago led to the theory that root canal treatment may trap bacteria in the tooth causing illness. Although it has been disproven many times, the myth continues circulating on the internet to this day. We use advanced sterilization techniques so all bacteria is removed or killed before the canal is sealed.
- Pain – Of course, this is the most popular myth about root canal treatment. The simple fact is that treatment relieves pain, rather than causing it. For additional comfort, sedation is available.
At Biltmore Dental Center, root canal treatment is nothing to fear. It is sweet relief from persistent pain and infection. Call us at (602) 954-8200 to schedule an appointment.