In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new “documentary” on Netflix called “Root Cause.” This film follows one person’s experience with root canal treatment. While getting a root canal can be a scary thought, I think it’s important to review the science and make an informed decision before you choose an alternative treatment.
What is a Root Canal?
I like to think of a root canal as a “big filling” that extends from the tip of the tooth (or apex) all the way through the root to the top (or crown). Root canals are needed whenever the pulp or soft tissue inside the tooth becomes inflamed or infected. Inflammation or infection can be caused by several things, such as:
– Deep cavities
– Repeated or large procedures such as fillings or crowns
– Injury or a cracked tooth
– And sometimes there is NO reason that we can find
Common Myths about Root Canals
1. Root canal treatment is painful.
Modern technology and proper anesthetic can render your root canal as pain-free as having a cavity filled. While it can be tricky to get a “hot tooth” to calm down for treatment, it’s not impossible. Sometimes an active infection will need to be treated with antibiotics first, so that the anesthetic will work properly and can be prescribed ahead of time to prevent complications.
2. Root canal treatment causes illness.
This false claim has been around much longer than “Root Cause” and is based on research done in 1900! This was before modern medicine understood how certain diseases work. In fact, a study in 2013 actually found that patients with multiple root canals had a 45% REDUCED risk of cancer! And The Canadian Cancer Society reports there is no connection between root canals and cancer.
3. It’s better to pull a tooth than have root canal treatment.
Saving your natural teeth whenever possible is always the best option. Nothing artificial can replace what your body made! Root canals have a very high success rate and replacing a tooth with a fixed bridge, partial denture, or implant may not give you the best outcome.
When in Doubt – Talk to the Root Canal Experts
We are very lucky in Kamloops to have access to many talented dentists, and also dentists who specialize in root canal treatment! Seeing an endodontist may be helpful when your tooth has a complicated shape, a blockage, or large infection.
And our team at Horizon Dental would be happy to help you achieve optimal oral health and we are happily accepting new patients. You can call us at (778) 765-3928 or click here for more information.