The Simple Truth About a Root Canal
Whoops! I missed it too! Root Canal Awareness Week was March 27 to April 2 and indeed, this week celebrated its 10th anniversary according to the American Association of Endodontists. With all of the days and weeks devoted to the myriad of causes and issues that occupy our consciousness these days, I’m really not that surprised to see a week devoted to root canal treatment.
The reason I decided to write about it, however, comes from the fact that so many people fear it and associate it with pain. I am reminded of this fact constantly by patients and there were several recently that made comments to this effect.
The simple truth, however, reveals a much different story. Root canal treatment (or endodontic therapy as we dentists call it) is actually a painless procedure when done properly. I believe that people’s fear of it stem from the fact that toothache pain is one of the major symptoms necessitating root canal treatment. In other words, the close association of tooth pain and endodontic treatment confuse many people into believing that they are interchangeable, when in reality, root canal treatment is what is needed to eliminate the pain of an infected tooth!
If you have any questions regarding this tooth saving therapy don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit or in the meantime, you can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA.
Over my 40 years in dentistry I have encountered many myths about oral health that are just not true. In the next series of blog posts, I hope to put these myths to rest and give you the facts you need to make informed decisions about your oral health. Welcome to dispelling dental myths. Read on and be sure to call the office if you have any questions.
1. Root Canals Hurt.
Maybe they did at one time, but with today’s advanced anesthesia techniques no one should have any discomfort during root canal (endodontic) treatment. I’ve always felt that the association with pain came from the fact that many people needing root canal therapy were in pain to begin with. Toothache pain is one of the worst imaginable, and in some primitive societies, was the only known cause of suicide! It only stands to reason that people would blur the connection between that level of pain and the treatment needed to save a tooth.
2. Baby (Primary) teeth are only temporary and therefore not important.
Many people still believe this. Maybe it comes from a time when teeth were routinely extracted if they had extensive decay rather than saved. The fact is, the primary teeth are not only important for a child’s nutrition and well-being, but help to ensure the proper eruption of the permanent teeth by maintaining space. Keeping the primary teeth healthy until they are lost naturally can save thousands of dollars in orthodontic treatment later. This is a classic example of the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”!
3. Dentures are the answer to chronic dental problems
I’ve often heard people say, “Maybe I should just have all my teeth removed and get dentures”. It’s easy to understand how people can get frustrated with dental problems. Having grown up with a father who suffered for years with chronic dental disease I can empathize with folks who share the same fate regardless of the reasons. The truth is that having one’s teeth removed and getting dentures is not so much solving a problem as it is exchanging one set of problems for another. Why? Because dentures need maintenance too and have their own myriad set of challenges. If you went to the best dentist in the world and he or she made the best set of dentures
they ever made, they would only be about 15% as effective in chewing as your own natural teeth. The advent of dental implants has helped greatly, but it still is not the same as having your natural teeth.…just different.
Until next time…keep brushing and flossing!