February Announcement: Root Canals… the 411!
The phrase ‘you will need a root canal to save your tooth’ has been for years patient’s least favorite thing to hear at a dental appointment. Why is this the case? The word ‘root canal’ has often been associated with pain! In the past where local anesthetics, technology, and instruments have not been as advanced as they are now, pain may have been a root cause (pun intended) of people’s fear of the procedure. This month we would like to talk about what really is a root canal, debunk some myths, and instill a sense of confidence in this dental procedure should you hear the words ‘you need a root canal’ in your future.
Let’s start with the basics: what is a root canal? A root canal procedure is the removal of infected nerve tissue within a tooth and then cleaning, disinfecting, and shaping the tooth canals (where the nerve used to be). The canals are then sealed off in order to preserve the root of the tooth, ultimately saving the tooth! This procedure is often times needed due to decay getting into the nerve of the tooth or extensive trauma. In the end, we are in the business to save teeth and this procedure helps us accomplish just that for our patients!
Myths about root canals have been a common cause of people’s fear of the procedure. Let’s debunk some of those myths!
1) “It’s going to hurt!”
The truth is patients typically experience less sensation during a root canal appointment then a tooth extraction. The recovery after the procedure is typically easier!
2) “Root canals make me sick!”
There is actually no valid, scientific evidence linking root canal treatment to disease elsewhere in the body. Much of this myth stems from disproven, poorly designed research that was gathered 100+ years ago.
3) “Root canals always fail!”
While at times teeth that have been treated with a root canal can fail, the likelihood is not high. The success rate of root canal treatment is generally between 85%-97%. In order to reduce the risk of a root canal failing there are a few things a patient can do. Having the root canal complete as close to the diagnosis as possible can help to decrease the chances of failure. Also, having a permanent crown placed after root canal or within a short period of time can greatly increase success rate. Also, having regular cleaning, exams, and x-rays to keep an eye on root canal teeth can prove to be helpful with success of the procedure.
At times when a root canal is needed you will be referred to a specialist called an Endodontist. This may be the case if tooth roots are too complex with multiple canals and accessory nerves. Sometimes, however, you can stay in the comfort of your general dental practice for this procedure. We are so proud to have Dr. Andrew Vallo a part of our team since 2019 because he has years of experience performing root canals and is now able to offer this service to the patients of MCDE!
All in all, being told you need a root canal should not be something that ignites fear. It is simply a procedure to save your teeth! When you save your teeth the function of eating is maintained properly, you preserve your beautiful smile, and in the end you will save money! We hope this insightful article has helped ease your mind, should you ever hear the words ‘you need a root canal’!