If you go in for a regular dental checkup and hear that you need a root canal, you may cringe and wonder if there are any other options. This is likely because you have heard some of the common statements regarding root canals, such as the procedure is painful or that you aren’t able to have one. Keep on reading to find out about five common thoughts about root canals that are actually myths.
Myth #1: Extracting a Tooth is a Good Alternative to a Root Canal
There are some people who would rather deal with having a tooth pulled instead of having a root canal. The truth of the matter is that having a tooth pulled if it can be saved by a root canal isn’t a good idea, as it can negatively impact your overall oral health. By having a root canal, you keep your natural tooth, which can mean that you won’t have the need for dentures or other oral appliances. Additionally, a root canal is usually less expensive than a tooth extraction, so you can save some money.
Myth #2: A Root Canal is Extremely Painful
In the past, root canals were one of the more painful dental procedures. However, with recent technological advances, this isn’t the case any longer. Improved anesthesia and changes to root canal procedures mean that you likely won’t experience much more pain than you would if you were having a filling. Even if you do experience some pain after the procedure, you can count on better pain management options now than those that were available 10 years ago.
Myth #3: A Root Canal Takes a Lot of Time
Root canals once took several visits to complete. Because of advances to the procedure, as well as new technology, root canals can often be completed in one to two visits. In some cases, one additional visit may be required to permanently restore the tooth. It is important for you to make sure that you go to every visit that is required for your root canal, as failing to have the full procedure and restoration completed can result your tooth becoming worse than it was prior to the root canal. In some cases, your tooth may fracture if it isn’t restored.
Myth #4: A Toothache is the Main Sign a Root Canal is Needed
Many people mistakenly think that only teeth that are hurting will need a root canal. This isn’t always the case. At a regular dental health checkup, your dentist may find that the tooth pulp is infected or damaged. In this case, the dentist will have to determine if the tooth can be saved. If it can be saved, the dentist will recommend a root canal be done even if you haven’t had any tooth pain at all.
Myth # 5: Pregnant Women Can’t Have a Root Canal
Before having a root canal, you will have to have an x-ray. There seems to be a misconception that pregnant women can’t have oral x-rays. While some dentists do prefer to wait on x-rays for pregnant women when possible, most dentists will do x-rays to get a root canal done if the root canal can’t be delayed. It is important for pregnant women to let the dentist know they are pregnant before having the x-ray done, as a lead apron should be placed over the abdomen to protect the fetus. There are even anesthesia options for the procedure that are safe for pregnant women.