It’s likely that you’ve heard the saying “I’d rather have a root canal” when faced with a task one would prefer not to tackle. The inspiration behind that idiom is the age-old belief that root canals are among the most undesirable experiences on the planet. While that may have been the case at one point in dentistry’s ancient and storied past, modern advances have made the results vastly more achievable and desirable today. As often is the case when we first propose a root canal to one of our patients at Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee, we receive a flurry of objections and questions based on three major myths. But before we set about the task of debunking those myths, let’s get to the “root” of the matter…
What ARE Root Canals?
Also known as endodontics, a root canal is a restorative surgical procedure to clean out infected tissue from a decaying or damaged tooth due to a cavity, periodontal disease or trauma. At Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee, our dentists will remove the infected tissue – aka tooth pulp, then clean and sterilize the interior of the tooth to eliminate any remaining bad bacteria, use a sealant to seal the tooth and place either a crown or a filling to protect the tooth from reinfection. The goal is always to save your natural teeth from the need for extraction.
Myth #1: Root Canals Are Painful
Between the advent of quality anesthesia and the design of modern surgical equipment, root canals today are relatively pain-free. Any discomfort you experience post-op can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief medication like NSAIDs or Acetaminophen. As a matter of fact, root canals can often save teeth and eliminate the pain you may be experiencing from infection, exposed nerves or periodontal disease. If left untreated, the infection may grow into the tissue of neighboring teeth and/or spread into the jawbone – causing you even more pain needlessly.
Myth #2: Root Canals Require a Long Recovery
Although it is considered oral surgery, a root canal is an outpatient procedure that can be completed within an hour or less. Reconstruction of your tooth may require more than one visit, particularly if placement of a crown will be involved. In that case, a temporary filling will be placed. Recovery often requires the avoidance of hard or crunchy food near the site of the treated tooth and maintenance of proper oral home care, including brushing and flossing. If you’re concerned about a long recovery, bear in mind that if you elect for a tooth extraction over a root canal, chances are that will require a bridge or implant – meaning more time in treatment and the potential for future procedures to neighboring teeth and supporting tissue if the infection spreads.
Myth #3: Root Canals are Expensive
While root canals definitely carry a price tag, they don’t make the list of Top 5 Most Expensive Dental Procedures, which includes things like porcelain veneers, dental implants, wisdom tooth removal, braces and dental crowns. One of the items that DOES make that list – dental implants – may be a necessary procedure if you opt against a root canal and a tooth extraction is our only remaining option. Fortunately, root canals are well worth the investment. They boast a high success rate and many teeth that have undergone a root canal will last a lifetime. Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee will work closely with your insurance carrier to ensure that your responsibility is manageable. In the event that you don’t have dental insurance, we are happy to discuss your financing options with you. Simply call us at 770-945-5850.
If you have a toothache, make an appointment with Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee as soon as possible. In the event that a root canal might be in order, it’s best to catch it early to minimize the pain and potential spread of infection. Appointments can be made by calling 770-945-5850 or by visiting our website at www.GentryDentistryofSuwanee.com and clicking the blue BOOK NOW button!