5 Common Fallacies People Believe About Root Canals

5 Common Fallacies People Believe About Root Canals

The canal of the tooth is the portion that runs from the pulp chamber to the tip. Some teeth have a single canal while others have up to four. When decay contaminates the nerve inside the pulp chamber, the tooth begins to die. This causes pain in many cases, and warrants treatment.

A root canal is a procedure during which the diseased pulp is removed. The empty space left behind is then cleaned and filled. Once the chamber is filled, the tooth is sealed in order to prevent infection from gaining entry.

There are several myths surrounding root canals (known as endodontic therapy). Most people who have never undergone the procedure fear it. This article will debunk five of the most common fallacies so you can make an informed decision about your dental care treatment.

#1 – Several Dental Visits Are Necessary

Long ago, root canals were performed over the course of three or more appointments. The patient was required to come back to her dentist’s office multiple times in order to continue the procedure. Today, this is rarely the case. Endodontic therapy can often be completed in a single visit.

There are a few circumstances for which multiple visits remain necessary. For example, if the amount of decay is extensive, or the procedure proves particularly difficult, the patient may be required to return. Otherwise, one visit should be sufficient.

#2 – Treatment Involves Significant Pain

Endodontic therapy once involved a substantial amount of pain. This was due, in part, to the anesthesia used as well as the methods employed to remove the pulp from the diseased tooth. Both have improved. Not only is the anesthesia better, but it may be unnecessary when the entire nerve of the tooth is dead. Plus, improved techniques mean dentists can perform root canals more quickly with less trauma.


Most people who have received endodontic treatment liken it to having a cavity filled. According to the American Association of Endodontists, those who have not undergone therapy are far more likely to fear it.

#3 – Having The Affected Tooth Pulled Is Better

Many people believe that having a diseased tooth extracted is a better solution than having it treated endodontically. Keeping your natural teeth is always preferred to replacing them with artificial teeth. There are a few reasons.

First, an artificial tooth should not be exposed to certain foods and beverages. Second, it may need to be replaced down the road. A natural tooth allows you to continue eating the foods you enjoy without fear of compromising it. And short of being knocked out, a tooth that has undergone a root canal should remain in place for the rest of your life.

#4 – Treatment Increases The Likelihood Of Illness

There is no research that conclusively proves that root canal therapy raises the risk of infection. The few dentists who make this claim base their position on research that was conducted by a dentist named Weston A. Price between 1910 and 1930. Price contended that bacteria trapped in the tooth during endodontic treatment would lead to infection, which might then cause a number of other serious diseases.

Further investigation into Price’s research suggests that lack of sanitation may have contributed to his findings. It’s also worth noting that bacteria is always present in the mouth; it does not necessarily lead to illness.

#5 – Root Canals Are Unavoidable For Those With Weak Teeth

Preventing tooth decay involves brushing twice each day and flossing. It also entails dental cleanings every six months. This is the case whether you have weak or strong teeth. If your teeth are more susceptible than normal to decay, modify your diet to reduce the sugary foods and beverages you consume. This will help prevent the accumulation of plaque and tartar.

Long ago, damaged and diseased teeth needed to be removed. Today, endodontic treatment can resolve decay and alleviate pain while preserving the patient’s natural teeth.

Posted by on May 3, 2011. Filed under Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.