When someone says canal treatment, people around suddenly begin to tighten the teeth! Most people think this is a very painful procedure. But with the advancement of dental medicine and technology, root canal treatments have changed dramatically.
I wrote this article to clear all kinds of myths about root canals and to help people understand the real facts and what to expect if they ever have to go through this procedure.
1 – Root canal therapy is a painful procedure
Root canal treatment and pain…False. Canal treatment does not cause pain. In fact, root canal treatments are performed to relieve pain caused by inflammation of the pulp chamber (where the nerve is located) or a dental infection. With modern local anesthesia, this procedure is pretty much painless.
If there is a severe dental infection, the local anesthesia may be more difficult to obtain and the dentist may decide to prescribe antibiotics prior to the procedure. If the root canal treatment looks very complicated to perform, you might have to go to an endodontist (a dentist specializing in root canal treatments).
2 – A canal treatment is expensive
Canal treatments are expensive… True. Although a root canal treatment is expensive, it must be remembered that it used to save a tooth life and maintain normal chewing. Getting a root canal procedure is still cheaper than extracting a tooth and replacing it with a bridge or a dental implant.
Costs vary depending on the number of canals that need recovering. A specialist (endodontist) will usually charge higher prices than a general dentist.
3 – Root canal therapy removes the pain immediately after the procedure
Immediate relief after a root canal procedure… False. After a root canal, the patient feels a significant improvement. However, it is normal that the tooth is still pretty sensitive the first few days after surgery. The use of pain relievers may be recommended. Mild pain can be followed in particular when chewing, and it may take several weeks to go away. The pain should disappear completely after this period.
Is it possible to feel no pain after root canal treatment? Yes, it is possible. This will depend on the complexity of the treatment.
4 – Canal treatments do not work
False. Although nothing can replace one completely new tooth, a well done procedure with proper sealing and possibly a crown, has a high success rate. In about 85% of cases, treatment can last for the rest of your life.
If a tooth becomes infected again a few years after the initial treatment, it can often be redone. However, in some situations, the dentist may have no choice but to extract the infected tooth.
5 – It is normal that a tooth is a little sensitive after root canal treatment
False. It is not normal to experience persistent pain several months after the root canal. If the pain does not go away, it may be due to a few things…the tooth is broken or there are remains hidden canals that have not been cleaned during the procedure.
In these rare cases of persistent pain, patients may be advised to consult an endodontist for further diagnosis. In cases where the root of a tooth is broken, no treatment can be done to save it and the tooth must be extracted.
Here’s a great 1 minute video explaining how the procedure works: