Ugh. Your dentist has uttered those words dreaded by any patient: “You need a root canal.” Root canals — otherwise known as endodontic therapy — have developed an unfortunate reputation for being a particularly torturous procedure in the dental repertoire.
It’s hard to say for sure why this helpful, necessary, and pain-relieving — yes, endodontics relieve pain — technique has become so undeservedly feared and reviled. It may be a relic from the past, when modern tools and techniques were not available. Or it could be that people mistake the pain of a tooth infection with the procedure itself.
We’d like to set the record straight. Myths about this essential dental technique are rampant. Misinformation proliferates across the internet. And that may prevent you from getting the help you need.
Myth: Root Canals Are Painful
This is perhaps the most pervasive and common misconception. In fact, the procedure has become practically synonymous with pain. The truth is that most patients say that their experience is akin to having a tooth filled. What is often painful is a serious tooth infection. During your treatment, all the diseased matter will be removed from the tooth chamber. At Silver Leaf Dentistry, we use modern rotary equipment for fast, efficient treatment. We will numb you so you will be entirely comfortable. When it’s all over, you will be free of infection and the accompanying discomfort.
Myth: Root Canals Make You Ill
This dangerous rumor, which has spread widely online, has no basis in reality. It may stem from poorly designed “research” a century ago that has long since been debunked. A dentist called Weston Price believed that even after teeth had been cleaned of decay, they continued to harbor “toxins” that bred cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and other health problems. Today we understand the causes of disease much better and there is no evidence to support Dr. Price’s claims. In fact, if you have a tooth infection, harmful bacteria are teeming in your tooth. The root canal procedure will remove the decay and microbes, making you healthy once again.
Myth: Root Canals Don’t Last
You may have heard that there’s no point in getting endodontic therapy because its effects are temporary and you’ll have to have the tooth pulled eventually anyway. Not true. The procedure is designed to be a long-term solution. As long as you have a well-fitting crown, practice meticulous oral hygiene at home, and visit us for cleanings and exams every six months, there is no reason for your treatment not to last a lifetime.
Myth: It’s Better to Just Get a New Tooth
Teeth are not computers. Nor are they cars. There is no benefit for trading the original for a shiny new model. That’s because replacement teeth are, well, not teeth. It’s always best to keep the original whenever possible. For one thing, you don’t want to subject yourself to a painful extraction unless absolutely necessary. Plus bridges, dental implants, and other restorations are more expensive than a endodontic treatment with a crown and require much more work and time at the dentist’s office.
Myth: If Your Tooth Doesn’t Hurt, You Don’t Need a Root Canal
It’s absolutely true that many infections requiring root canals are painful. But if your tooth is already dead inside, you may not be experiencing any discomfort at all. We have tests that enable us to determine whether your tooth is dead and in need of treatment.
Endodontic Therapy at Silver Leaf Dentistry
Here’s an idea of what to expect if you require endodontic treatment at our office.
- Dr. Wallin will take state-of-the-art digital X-rays of the tooth in order to determine the amount of damage in your tooth and where it’s located.
- We will ensure your mouth is completely numb with local anesthesia, so you will feel no pain or discomfort during your procedure.
- The doctor uses modern (and faster, more comfortable) rotary tools to remove the infected tissue and clean out the tooth chamber.
- We will fill the clean, empty cavity with a material called gutta-percha, which protects the chamber and prevents bacteria from getting back in.
- We will fill the access hole.
- You may require a dental crown on the tooth for additional protection.
At Silver Leaf Dentistry, we offer amenities like blankets, pillows, ceiling mounted TVs with Netflix, and wireless headphones to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure.
If you have reason to believe you may need a root canal or would like to schedule an appointment for any of our dental services, get in touch with Silver Leaf Dentistry. We have a convenient online contact form, or you may call our Longmont, CO office at 720-504-2539.