Dr. Barry Rhome is proud to provide a range of endodontically-related treatments to patients throughout the greater Philadelphia area. While we highly value preventative care at our practice, sometimes dental problems are unavoidable. If dental decay progresses too deeply into the tooth and affects the inner nerve tissue, or trauma causes a fracture of the tooth exposing the nerve issue, endodontic treatment (root canal therapy) offers a highly effective, conservative solution. In fact, root canal therapy often allows us to save a tooth that would otherwise require extraction and replacement.
Top 5 Myths About Root Canals
You may have heard the derogatory, negative phrase “I’d rather get a root canal.” While it may be an amusing joke, the truth is that root canals aren’t nearly as uncomfortable as many have been led to believe. If you’ve heard any of these root canal myths, it’s time to debunk them once and for all.
Myth #1: Root Canals Are Painful
False. Local anesthesia is administered PRIOR to the start of the procedure, and only AFTER the proper degree of “numbness” is achieved. Most patients remark that the root canal procedure was “easier than getting a filling.”
Myth #2: Root Canals Don’t Last
False. As long as a proper permanent filling is placed in/over the treated tooth, soon after the root canal procedure is completed, your tooth can last as long as any other in your mouth. It is not the root canal procedure itself that fails, but rather the reintroduction of bacteria into the canal space due to decay or fracture of the tooth. An endodontically treated tooth can still decay if neglected, like any other tooth so conscientious home care is still necessary. On an endodontically treated back molar tooth, especially, a well-made and well-fit crown, combined with good at-home oral care practices, will help to keep your tooth for a lifetime.
Myth #3: Root Canals Aren’t Better Than Tooth Extraction
False. While sometimes the only option is to extract a tooth, we try to avoid that whenever possible. It’s almost always preferable to keep your natural teeth, and root canal treatment allows you the opportunity to do just that.
Myth #4: Root Canals Aren’t Necessary If There’s No Tooth Pain
False. Unfortunately, toothaches aren’t always a reliable indicator of dental health. If a tooth nerve has died, it may not cause pain but root canal therapy may still be needed. Damaged or diseased nerve tissue should not be allowed to remain inside your tooth, even if you experience no symptoms at present; the damaged nerve is a problem waiting to happen. Regular checkups with your general dentist and periodic X-rays are both helpful in detecting a potential hidden problem.
Myth #5: Root Canals Make You Sick
False. This old, incorrect but still persistent myth, should be banished forever. The idea that root canal treatment contributes to illness in otherwise healthy patients comes from a poorly designed “research” study that took place a century ago. Subsequent studies have conclusively proven that endodontic treatment does not itself cause illness. When properly performed, it is a safe and effective dental procedure that can eliminate pain and infection caused by a deteriorating nerve.
Appointment with Your Philadelphia Endodontist
With over 40 years of experience, Dr. Rhome has performed over 30,000 endodontic procedures and is one of the top endodontists in the Philadelphia area. Contact us today to learn more about root canal treatment and schedule your consultation appointment!