Root Canal Myths: What You Should Know

TeamEndodontics, Root Canal

You’ve likely heard plenty of phrases involving root canals where the term is used sarcastically to describe something long and unpleasant. But anyone who has had a root canal recently or even in the last 20 years can tell you that it is a relatively short and simple procedure similar to a routine cavity filling. 

If your dentist’s recommendation of a root canal has you feeling anxious, it may help to know what is true and what is a myth. Here are some of the biggest root canal myths debunked. 

Myth: A root canal is painful.

Truth: Local anesthesia is used for a root canal procedure so that you won’t feel any pain. The same type of local anesthetic is used for root canals as is used for cavity fillings. Once the anesthesia has time to work, your mouth will be numb in the area where the tooth is being treated. Later on when the anesthesia wears off, you shouldn’t feel any pain. If you do, over the counter pain relievers can usually ease your discomfort. 

Myth: A root canal takes a long time.

Truth: A root canal procedure typically takes between an hour and an hour and a half. This is about the same time frame as a cavity filling. A large portion of that time is spent allowing the anesthetic to take effect, so the dentist won’t be working in your mouth for the entire time you are in the chair. 

Myth: A root canal involves surgery.

Truth: A root canal is not actually a surgical procedure. There is no cutting into the soft tissues of your mouth at all. The dentist makes a small hole in the crown of your tooth, cleans out all of the soft pulp inside of your tooth and root canal, and fills the tooth up with the same tooth filling material used for cavities. 

Myth: A root canal can make you sick.

Truth: This is an old rumor about root canals. People once thought that the infected tissue inside of your tooth could make you sick during the procedure. However, the infected tissue is extracted and removed so that it makes no contact with your saliva or the tissues in your mouth. There is no way for you to get sick from a root canal procedure. 

Myth: It’s better to have the tooth pulled.

Truth: Dentists never recommend having a permanent tooth pulled without replacing it. The purpose of a root canal is to save the tooth so that it can remain in your mouth. Having it extracted will leave a gap that may cause your other teeth to shift out of place. A root canal is much less invasive and less expensive than a replacement tooth like a bridge or a dental implant. 

Myth: A root canal requires multiple trips to the dentist’s office. 

Truth: A root canal can usually be done in one appointment. It can sometimes require a second appointment if you are also receiving a crown. A crown is created in a lab and sent back to your dentist’s office to be fitted. You will wear a temporary crown between appointments. 

Myth: You can’t have a root canal if you’re pregnant.

Truth: There is very little risk involved with getting a root canal while you are pregnant. Discuss it with your doctor to determine if it is safe or if there are any risks involved due to specific conditions you may have. Most pregnant women can have a root canal at absolutely no risk to themselves or their unborn babies. 

Non-Surgical Root Canals at Emerson Dental 

If you need a root canal, don’t fret. Emerson Dental provides non-surgical root canal therapy. We employ the latest technology that allows us to perform non-invasive root canal procedures in a short time. Whether you have a severe toothache or a deep cavity that has reached the inner root canal of your tooth, a root canal will likely be able to save your natural tooth. Our goal at Emerson Dental is to help you keep as many of your natural teeth as possible. 

Call 978-399-0017  to schedule an appointment at our Westford office or 781-394-9213  for our Bedford office. We look forward to providing you with quality dental care.