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6 Myths Too Many People Still Believe About Root Canals

Clean smile | Milllburn Dental Arts | New Jersey

When someone says they just had a root canal, people usually cringe. You imagine this horrible experience that … well, most people don’t really know what happens in a root canal, but they’re sure it’s bad.

This has led to many myths about root canals. They are actually great at getting rid of pain and saving your teeth. But too many people have heard the stories and accepted them. Here are the top six myths about root canals and the truth about each.

MYTH: You can get arthritis or cancer from teeth that had root canals done to them. Back in the 1920s, a dentist published a study saying that root canals will make people sick. Since a root canal is done to remove an infection, he believed removing it only let the infection spread throughout the rest of the body. He believed teeth that had undergone root canals would cause arthritis. A few people on the internet today have even linked root canals to cancer.

TRUTH: That one study done almost 100 years ago was quickly proven wrong by other dentists. The math just didn’t add up. Studies have shown that root canals aren’t just healthy, they make you healthier by removing an infection. There is no cover up — just bad math.

MYTH: A root canal is never done. You’ll need to keep getting them over and over. During a root canal, a dentist removes an infection by removing the pulp infected by bacteria. Get rid of the problem, get rid of the infection. There are rare cases when a small portion of the infection was not caught. The bacteria grew back, and the root canal had to be done again. This led to a myth that all root canals need to be redone.

TRUTH: When done right, a root canal does not need to be done a second time. It removes the infection and makes sure it does not come back. Dr. Krosser is highly trained and has been doing successful root canals for decades. He has the training and experience to make sure your root canal only needs to be done once.

MYTH: It’s better to remove the tooth and get a replacement. This myth most likely stems from that same flawed study suggesting root canals were dangerous. That dentist thought the only safe way to remove an infection is to remove the infected tooth altogether. He would only do tooth extractions.

TRUTH: Saving the tooth is always the better option. First, it saves you money. If you have a tooth extraction, that’s an extra cost. Second, why go through with the complications of oral surgery when you don’t have to? Root canals remove infected pulp and save your teeth.

MYTH: The only way to know if you need a root canal is if you have a bad toothache. The dental pulp inside a tooth is home to all the nerve endings for that tooth. When bacteria infect there, it can be very painful. Those nerve endings keep getting triggered over and over again. Because it’s very painful, many people believe that a severe toothache is the only sign that you will need a root canal.

TRUTH: Not everyone reacts the same way to this kind of infection. Many will have a painful toothache. Others will have an occasional one that’s mild. Still more could have no pain at all, especially if the infection is new. At our Millburn, NJ dental office, we have the tools and experience necessary to properly diagnose this infection as well as treat it.

MYTH: Root canals are complicated and take a very long time. The source of this myth is unclear. Some people seem to think that root canals are complicated. You’ll need to come for several visits before they are done, it’s hard to find a dentist who can do them, that sort of thing.

TRUTH: A root canal is straightforward. True, not every dentist can do them. Dr. Krosser is both trained and experienced, so you can get root canals from our Millburn, NJ dental office. Most root canals are started and finished in a single visit.

MYTH: Root canals are the most painful treatment in dentistry. Of all of the myths above, this is probably the biggest. A long time ago, dentists had trouble managing pain. When it came to removing an infection from inside your tooth, you really needed pain management. The two problems collided, and that’s where the myth got started. Thankfully, things are very different these days.

TRUTH: A root canal is no more painful than getting a cavity filled. With local anesthetic, many patients do not feel any pain at all.

If you have a toothache, you could have infected dental pulp. A root canal will relieve the pain and save your tooth. Call us today at (973) 957-1604 for your next appointment.

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