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Updated by amelia-grantny on Nov 01, 2018
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5 Common Root Canal Myths and Half-Truths

One of the most feared dental procedures is considered to be root canal therapy. The American Association of Endodontists conducted a survey which found that the majority of people with a fear of the dentist got that fear based on other peoples experiences, not their own. Having inaccurate information can prevent you from making the correct decision regarding your teeth.




There are even cases of patients come to a dentist asking for a tooth extraction rather than save the tooth with a root canal. That is why we wrote this article, to break the biggest myths regarding root canals.


Myth #1: Root Canal Therapy Is Painful

Root canal therapy is performed when you have a tooth pain from an irreversible condition. A slowly dying nerve, broken teeth, pulpitis an infected pulp, are common reasons for needing a root canal therapy. The purpose of a root canal is to relieve pain. Out of those who get a root canal therapy, most admit they didn’t feel any paint during the procedure and experienced significant improvement afterward.

The common perception of the root canal being a painful procedure originates from treatment methods used in the past. New methods ensure the procedure is fairly painless.


Myth #2: Completing a Root Canal Requires Several Appointments

A root canal procedure can be done in one or two appointments. The number of appointments needed is based on the following factors:

  • the extent of the infection
  • the difficulty of the root canal
  • whether a referral to a root canal specialist, known as an endodontist, becomes necessary After getting a root canal done, tooth restoration will be required to ensure the tooth will function properly. The required appointments to restore the tooth should not be considered part of the root canal procedure.

Myth #3: Root Canal Therapy Causes Illness

Research conducted by Dr. Weston Price over 100 years ago, found that the bacteria trapped inside an endodontically treated tooth will cause illness, such as kidney disease, heart disease, or arthritis. Scientists in modern times tried to confirm Dr. Price’s studies but were unsuccessful in proving that root canal can cause illness. You will always have some bacteria in your mouth. Even perfectly healthy teeth have tested positive for bacteria.


Myth #4: Teeth Need to Hurt Before Root Canal Therapy Becomes Necessary

There are times when you won’t experience any pain in a tooth that needs a root canal therapy. A tooth may even be already dead but will still require a root canal to avoid infection. During a regular dental check-up, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth. Very often, during this appointment, your dentist may discover that a tooth has died or is about to die. Some of the tests used to confirm a dead tooth include:

  • percussion testing
  • temperature testing

- using a pulp vitality machine


Myth #5: The Benefits of Root Canal Therapy Don't Last Very Long

There’s a popular misconception that the results following a root canal therapy don’t last very long. This assumption originated after some patients had their tooth break months after a root canal was done on that tooth. The blood supply is stopped inside the tooth when the nerve is removed.

This eventually causes the tooth to get brittle. Depending on the size of the filling used after the root canal, it can make your tooth prone to breaking from eating and even talking. That is why it’s necessary to get a dental crown placed over the tooth after a root canal therapy. So technically, it’s not the root canal that has failed, but rather the restoration on the tooth that has failed.