Root Canal Myths: What’s True?

Unless you’ve purposely avoided hearing anything about dental care for your whole life you probably know what a root canal is. Or maybe you’ve just heard the rumors about them – the pain, the sensitivity, and the horrors of time spent suffering in the dental chair.

At Millburn Dental Arts we perform a lot of root canals and we want to shed some light on this important, and often misunderstood, procedure. Far from being the painful, unnecessary service that people make them out to be, root canals save teeth and preserve oral health – they’re an essential part of dentistry!

Rumor #1: They Hurt

To understand where this rumor comes from it’s important to understand what root canals are for. When a cavity reaches the root of your tooth it infects the dental pulp, a soft tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves. Infections of the dental pulp are usually pretty painful and require immediate treatment.

Root canals are done to remove the infected dental pulp while preserving the tooth. The procedure itself isn’t painful – your mouth will be numbed by anesthesia so you won’t feel a thing! Recovery generally isn’t very bad either – with the infection removed there isn’t much left that will actually hurt. We seal the roots of your teeth with a rubber-like material and restore your tooth with a crown to ensure you recover fast and get function back right away.

The bottom line: root canal pain is often confused for the pain of an infected root! In the past they may have hurt but modern anesthesia and treatment make them a painless, easy procedure.

Rumor #2: They Take A Long TIme

Our root canals are finished within a couple of hours, and that includes placing a crown! You won’t have to worry about coming back for a permanent crown with our CEREC technology. We can build and place crowns in a single visit using computer aided drafting and milling technology. You won’t even realize it isn’t a natural tooth!

Rumor #3: It’s Better To Pull The Tooth

At Millburn Dental Arts we always want to save your natural teeth. Your teeth rely on each other for support and the loss of just a single tooth can jeopardize the rest of your mouth! By extracting a tooth you’re at risk for further oral health complications that can be completely avoided with a root canal.

Your root canaled tooth will be perfectly stable and just as functional as it was before the root canal – we’ll never extract a tooth unless there’s no other option!

Rumor #4: The Infection Can Come Back Worse Than Ever

This myth seems to hang around despite all the science to the contrary! The idea that root canals can become reinfected is based on a theory from the early 20th century called the Focal Infection Theory. It held that infections were caused not by bacteria or other pathogens but by something inherent to the tooth, bone, or tissue where the infection was present. They believed that a tooth which had an infection was itself the problem, not the bacteria that caused the decaying dental pulp.

The theory was widely disproven within 20 years of its establishment but it continues to hang around in the dark corners of the internet. Don’t believe it – we clean, sterilize, and fill your tooth so that a second infection is practically impossible. Root canals are perfectly safe!

Rumor #5: They Aren’t Necessary

When an infected root isn’t treated things can get serious. Dental abscesses, which are large pockets of infection, generally develop because the infection from a tooth spread into the bone and gums around it. An abscess can grow quite large, causing fever, illness, and the potential for serious tissue damage and loss.

An abscess is completely unavoidable but in order to make sure they don’t happen a root canal is necessary. It’s never a good idea to leave an infection to clear itself up – that’s just asking for a serious illness or physical problem later on!

Don’t Delay When You’re In Pain!

Root canals aren’t nearly as bad as the stories say. We don’t want you to avoid a necessary procedure because of fear so don’t hesitate to call us for more root canal facts today!

You can reach Millburn Dental Arts by calling (973) 957-1604 or you can request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!


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