Rooting Out a Few Myths Involving Root Canals

The dreaded words aren’t fit for polite company — but if you’re faced with one, don’t let these myths about root canals freak you out

Even strong men pale at the very thought of a dentist digging the nerve out of a dying tooth — and wow, that sounds painful, doesn’t it? But it’s not as bad as all those myths about root canals would have you believe. Well, yes, it’s a pain in the mouth, but it’s better than the pain you’re already suffering with a bad tooth.

Many people, though, have let the whole mystique of the root canal keep them from allowing a dentist to ease their pain with one. It doesn’t have to be that way. Take a look at the truth behind these common root canal myths, and decide for yourself on the issue.

Myth 1: Root Canal = Pain.

There was a time when this myth about root canals had some truth to it. Decades ago, some root canal treatments were indeed painful, mostly because the anesthetic wasn’t effective enough. That’s no longer the case, though many people still remember those days with dread.

Nowadays, with the advent of better anesthetics — and dentists who actually listen when you tell them it still hurts — a root canal shouldn’t hurt any more than getting a filling. The biggest pain is usually related to having to keep your mouth open forever, though having to deal with the boredom follows as a close second.

Myth 2: It’s better to pull the tooth than suffer through a root canal.

A lot of people fall for this myth about root canals, but only because they think it’ll be cheaper and cause less pain in the long run. That may be true, but then you’re short a tooth. You only have so many, so if you keep making this choice over the course of your life, you’re going to end up with dentures sooner than you think.

First of all, as we mentioned above, a root canal doesn’t usually hurt much at all these days. Second, you need your natural teeth in order to eat, chew, and annunciate properly. Sure, you can always replace them with a bridge or partial — but those are much more expensive than a root canal.

Myth 3: Even if you get a root canal, the tooth will eventually come out anyway.

Not if it’s properly restored, and you take care of it properly. Follow recommended dental hygiene and get checkups regularly, exercise normal oral care (which means no biting off bottle caps), and your tooth should last the rest of your life.

So don’t let these myths about root canals keep you from seeking out the dental care you need!