Does the mere mention of a root canal send shivers down your spine? If so, you’re not alone. Root canals have a painful reputation, which makes many patients reluctant to undergo the procedure. Without a root canal, though, the affected tooth could cause significant pain or an abscess, or cause the tooth to be extracted.
The purpose of a root canal is to save the natural tooth by removing inflamed or infected pulp tissue from the inside. Before your root canal, you receive anesthesia to numb the tooth. Then your dentist opens the tooth using a special file and removes all the infected tissue before cleaning, disinfecting, and filling the tooth. To help ease your jitters, we bust three common root canal myths and arm you with a few tips to help you get through the procedure.
Myth 1: Root Canals Are Very Painful
Truth: Root canals are typically no more painful than a standard filling. In fact, root canals alleviate the pain associated with inflamed or infected pulp, which can activate nerves in the tooth and cause a massive toothache. Patients who have had a root canal usually describe the procedure as painless, according to the American Association of Endodontists. Although root canals may well have been painful in the early days, modern dental technology and anesthetics alleviate most of the discomfort associated with the treatment.
Myth 2: Root Canals Can Make You Sick
Truth: There isn’t any scientific evidence that links root canals with illnesses. If you’ve been searching for information about root canals online, then you may’ve heard that the procedure causes disease and illness in the body. The good news, according to the AAE, is that root canals are safe, effective, and in no way linked to making people sick. The immune system of a healthy person eradicates any bacteria that enter the bloodstream during the procedure within minutes.
Myth 3: Pulling the Tooth Is a Better Option
Truth: There’s simply no substitution for a natural tooth. Saving and restoring your tooth is the optimal choice. It’s less traumatic and more cost effective than extraction and implants or bridges. Additionally, removing a tooth can cause the rest of your teeth to shift position, which puts them at increased risk of future complications.
Root Canal Tips
Working with a reputable dental practice and a dentist that you trust is one way to relieve your anxiety about a root canal. Other tips for getting through treatment include the following:
- Stay calm: Anxiety can affect the anesthetic’s ability to numb your mouth.
- Sedation – can help alleviate anxiety during the procedure.
- Try acupressure: In addition to anesthesia, acupressure can help increase pain tolerance, especially when you’re receiving a numbing injection. Try using the thumb and forefinger of one hand to squeeze the area between the forefinger and thumb of your other hand.
- Ask for a test: Ask your dentist to test the tooth to make sure you’re numb before getting started.
Klement Family Dental has been providing quality dental care to the St. Petersburg community for more than 35 years. Contact us today at 727-498-1959 727-498-1959 to schedule an appointment or to discuss your root canal questions.