Why Are People so Afraid of Root Canals?

girl looking nervous about getting a root canal

Root canal.

Even the words themselves are enough to terrify people. But the truth is that root canal procedures are not that bad! Actually, getting a root canal can be very similar to getting a normal cavity filling. This is thanks to advances in modern dentistry that make the procedure fast, safe, and relatively painless. So yes, we do have some very negative portrayals of root canal procedures in pop culture, but the real reason people dread root canals is that they don’t understand the procedure and why it’s necessary. The more we understand, the less scary it is! Let’s break it down:

What Are Root Canals and Why Do People Need Them?

Root canals are important because they treat, and therefore save, an infected tooth. The tooth might have become infected due to a crack, general decay, or an old filling which allowed bacteria to penetrate the soft pulp inside the tooth, under the enamel. Symptoms can include tooth pain while chewing, sensitivity, and gum swelling. The magic of a root canal is that it actually saves your tooth, instead of replacing it with an implant. And keeping your own tooth is always ideal!

The Procedure

Most root canals can be completed within one visit to your dentist (sometimes two). Your dentist will make a small hole in the infected tooth in order to remove infected tissue. After filling the tooth with a rubber compound, your dentist will restore the shape of the tooth with a sturdy dental crown, allowing it to retain its natural shape.

Decreasing Pain Levels

When most people think of a root canal, they think about pain. The truth is, the most intense discomfort throughout the process comes before the tooth is treated, while it is still infected. Shortly after the procedure, discomfort dissipates and you are back to normal. Those who have actually had a root canal can vouch for this; in fact, according to a survey done by the American Association of Endodontists, patients who have experienced a root canal procedure are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not experienced the treatment.

If you think you might need a root canal, or any other dental procedure, contact our office today!

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