MILLIONS OF PEOPLE struggle with dental anxiety, and for many it’s so severe that they avoid getting needed dental work, including root canal treatment from an endodontist. For some, dental anxiety may be based on prior negative experiences. For others, it might be outdated expectations of what a dental exam is like (which TV and movies often perpetuate). Some people definitely get the wrong idea thanks to oft-repeated myths about root canal treatment. We want to focus on that last one.
“It’s better to pull the tooth than get a root canal.”
This is only true as a last resort in severe cases where the tooth can’t be saved with endodontic treatment. We understand that tooth pain from an infected tooth can be bad enough that the patient may simply want the entire tooth gone, but the entire dental specialty of endodontics exists to save teeth. There is no artificial tooth replacement that does as effective of a job as the natural tooth. Saving teeth is worth it!
“Getting root canal treatment will make you sick.”
This is a claim we’ve seen floating around online. It might be a relic of “focal infections,” a thoroughly discredited theory that plagued the public attitude towards endodontics in the first half of the 20th century. The theory was that bacteria from a tooth infection could infect the body as a result of treatment. Somehow this theory became so popular that many teeth that could’ve been saved through root canal treatment were pulled instead.
Even worse, many healthy teeth were pulled too, because of a belief that pulling them could help with chronic conditions like heart disease. Eventually, evidence disproving the focal infection theory piled up too high to ignore, but it did a lot of damage in the decades it was rampant. It is true that bacteria causes tooth infections, but treatment gets rid of the bacteria! It’s only when the infection goes untreated that the bacteria has a chance to get into the bloodstream. So no, root canal treatment will not make you sick. Quite the opposite.
“Root canal treatment is painful.”
This idea goes back to the source of dental anxiety for a lot of people. In the past, root canal treatment could be painful, but dentists and endodontists back then didn’t have access to the medicine and technology we have available today. These days, root canal treatment is very easy on the patient. It actually relieves the pain of an infected tooth, so don’t let an outdated notion of what endodontic treatment is like prolong a toothache when we can help.
Bring Us More Endodontic Myths to Debunk!
The comfort of our patients is of paramount importance to us, and a big part of that is being informed, so if you have any other worries, we want to hear about them! We are happy to debunk more endodontic myths and give our patients good information so that they can be confident in the treatment we offer.