1 – A root canal treatment is a painful procedure
False. A root canal does not cause pain. In fact, root canals are performed to relieve pain caused by inflammation of the pulp chamber (where the nerve is located) or a dental infection. Most of the “pain” comes from ignoring a trip to the dentist, causing the infection to become worse and affecting other areas of the mouth.
2 – A root canal removes the pain immediately after the procedure
False. After a root canal, the patient will feel a significant improvement. However, it is normal for the tooth to be sensitive the first few days after treatment and the use of pain relievers can help. Mild pain can follow, especially while chewing, and can last a few weeks. The pain should disappear completely however after that time.
3 – Root canals do not work
False. Although nothing can replace your tooth completely, a root canal that is done well, with an appropriate filling or crown, has a very high success rate. In about 85% of cases, treatments can last a lifetime.
4 – It is normal that a tooth remains a little sensitive after a root canal
False. It is not normal to experience persistent pain that could last a few months after root canal treatment has been performed on a tooth. Among the causes of pain that remain are hidden canals that were not cleaned during the procedure, or the tooth itself being broken all the way to the root.
5 – A root canal “kills” the tooth
False. A root canal cleans and disinfects the inside of the tooth to allow it to heal; it does not kill a tooth. The nerves and the blood vessels located in the pulp chamber served for the development of a tooth when a person is a child or a teenager.
6 – Teeth undergoing root canal treatment often need a crown
True. Usually, teeth that need root canal treatment have very large cavities or extensive fillings. A tooth with a large filling is more at risk for fractured. For this reason, your dentist may recommend the placement of a post and a crown after the root canal procedure.
Some dentists place a post and a filling on a tooth right after the root canal has been done. Although the post gives more strength to the tooth than placing just a filling alone, a crown is still recommended to make the tooth stronger.
7 – Root canal treatment is a lengthy process that requires several appointments
False. Today, root canal treatment may take between one and two hours if there are no complications. The number of appointments often depends on the condition of the tooth and the number of canals it has.
8 – A tooth with a root canal treatment that has failed should always be extracted
False. The success rate of root canals is about 85%. If a root canal has been done years ago and re-causes pain or infection, the tooth can often be retreated.
Dr. Peabody has been a practicing dentist in Santa Cruz for more than 20 years. He is experienced in all Root Canal and Dental Crown treatments. If you live in Santa Cruz, please feel free to call our office for your consultation. Check back each month for more tips and insight from Dr. Peabody.
620 Frederick Street
Santa Cruz CA 5062