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Although root canal treatment is  a common and successful procedure, it is also one of the most feared. Much of this fear is due to myths grounded in long-debunked science, and one of the most common myths of all is that root canals somehow cause heart disease. Here is what you should know.

What Is a Root Canal?

Each tooth has one or more root canals hidden deep inside the tooth’s roots.  A root canal procedure is designed to battle infection and decay that have reached these deepest areas of the tooth. This is how it is done, Your dentist would thoroughly numb the tooth and the surrounding tissues, and then drill a small hole through the crown of the tooth into the inner chamber. After carefully removing all damaged tissue and infection  the canals are sealed with biocompatible gutta percha, Permanent filling or crown will be later placed to protect the tooth..

Do Root Canals Cause Heart Disease?

In the 1920s, Dr. Weston Price released a study claiming that root canals could cause numerous systemic illnesses including heart disease. Later, his work was thoroughly discredited  and the Journal of the American Dental Association released a definitive position paper in 1951 concluding that root canals are the best treatment for teeth that are severely damaged or decayed without any systemic complications. 

While Dr. Price’s faulty research implicated root canals as a cause of heart disease and other illnesses, the exact opposite is true. Untreated dental conditions such as root canal infection can introduce bacteria to the bloodstream, allowing it to travel to all parts of the body and raising the risk for a variety of diseases. But a proper root canal treatment  prevents such bacterial invasion. Root canal treatment, along with all other procedures that treat tooth decay and gum disease, help to protect your overall health.

Other Common Root Canal Myths

There are two other pervasive myths regarding root canals, neither of which is remotely true:

Root Canals Hurt: At one time, all dental work hurt. Dentists lacked the tools, technology, and pain management protocols for pain-free dentistry. Since root canals are performed on the most sensitive part of the tooth, odds are good that they hurt more than other procedures. Today, dentistry has come a long way, though the myth lives on. The American Association of Endodontists states that those who have actually had a root canal rate the procedure as “painless” six times more often than those who have never had one. Most people go back to work in a day or two.

It’s Better to Pull the Tooth: Dr. Price believed in extraction rather than root canals. Since we know his research was flawed, though, it makes no sense to pull the tooth. It is true that modern tooth replacements are better than ever before, but even the best replacement is not the same as a natural tooth. If a safe, easy, pain-free root canal can save your tooth, it is in your best interest to do so.

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.

Root canal therapy is generally safe and effective, with a success rate of more than 95%. Like any other medical or dental procedure, though, a root canal can occasionally fail. This is normally due to a loose crown, tooth fracture, or new decay. Root canals can fail soon after the procedure, or even years later. Here are the top 3 symptoms of a root canal failure, and what to expect if it happens.

1. Pain

It is normal to have some discomfort for a few days after your root canal. If you have severe pain that lingers, though, or if your tooth feels better and then starts hurting again, you may be experiencing a root canal failure.

2. Swelling

You may experience some mild swelling around the treated tooth or in your face for a day or two after your root canal. New swelling or swelling that persists, though, could mean that your root canal failed.

3. Discharge

A bloody or pus-filled discharge from the treated tooth or surrounding gums could mean that a new abscess has formed. Pain typically accompanies an abscess, but not always, so it is important to have any discharge checked out.

Treating a Failed Root Canal

If you notice any signs of a root canal failure, call your endodontist right away. There are treatment options that can quickly get you back on the road to oral health without extracting the affected tooth.

Root Canal Retreatment: A root canal retreatment is typically the first course of action. We will disassemble the restorative materials and carefully examine the inside of the tooth to find the problem. We will treat the issue, clean the canal(s), and rebuild your restoration.

Apicoectomy: If the retreatment also fails, you may need an apicoectomy. This procedure removes the tip of the tooth root and replaces it with a filling.

A failed root canal can be scary, and you might even worry that you will lose your tooth. When it is caught quickly, though, we have options to restore your tooth. Although more than 95% of root canals go off without a hitch, it is important to be aware. Keep an eye out for the signs of a root canal failure not only in the days following the procedure but also in the future. If you have pain, swelling, or discharge, call us right away.

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.