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3 Myths About Root Canals

March 14, 2019
3 Myths About Root Canals

Root canal treatment is the best way to save a tooth that is severely damaged or decayed. In this straightforward and common procedure, we will thoroughly numb the tooth and then create a small opening from the crown down to the root chamber to access the canals. We will carefully clean out all infection and damage, smooth the canals, and seal them with a biocompatible material. You will wear a temporary filling or crown while a final crown is created.

Despite the fact that modern root canal treatment is simple and relatively easy, it remains one of the most feared dental procedures. They are also shrouded in myths and misconceptions. Here is the truth behind 3 myths about root canals.

Root Canals Can Cause Illness

This myth can be traced to a man named Dr. Weston A. Price in the 1920s. He claimed that extraction is safer, because root canals could cause illnesses throughout the body. By the 1930s, Dr. Price’s research had been debunked, but the myth held on.

In 1951, the Journal of the American Dental Association published a conclusive report showing that Dr. Price had used questionable practices and research methods that led to false results. This special report, in tandem with numerous other studies, showed definitively that root canal treatment is the safest and most effective treatment for badly decayed or damaged teeth.

The myth largely fell out favor until the rise of the internet. Today, a quick Google search will produce dozens of sites repeating this myth, but all of them can be traced back to Dr. Price’s faulty research.

The truth is that root canals remove bacteria and seal the tooth to guard against new bacteria. The risk of infection from a proper extraction is quite minimal, but a proper root canal eliminates even the tiniest risk.

Root Canals Are Painful

In decades past, all dental work caused some pain. Today, though, major advances in both dental technology and pain management have made dentistry, including root canals, quick, easy, and virtually painless.

The American Academy of Endodontists states that those who have had a root canal are a full six times more likely to rate the procedure as “painless” than those who have never had one. The fear remains, but the pain does not.

Extraction Is Better

This myth is related to the Dr. Price myth. As the claim goes, since dental implants and highly natural replacement teeth are easy to come by, it is better to simply pull teeth instead of performing root canals. The reality, though, is that while modern technology can provide incredibly lifelike solutions for those whose teeth cannot be saved, no replacement is as good as your own natural tooth.

Your teeth have their own aesthetics, full bite strength and chewing forces, and a fully stabilized root system. It is never wise to pull a tooth that a root canal could save unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Ready to Get Started?

If you need a root canal from an endodontist you can trust, contact North Shore & Brookline Endodontics today at the location that is most convenient for you.

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