I understand that visiting the dentist isn’t the first thing on anyone’s to-do list. That doesn’t hurt our feelings. I also understand that some people will never be comfortable at the dentist. I can understand and empathize with just about any dental concern my patients have. But there is one aspect of dentistry that has been tarnished by rumors and stereotypes: root canals.

Admit it, you cringed a little bit after reading the word root canal, right? It’s OK. Nobody wants a root canal, believe me. But it’s also unfair to condemn a procedure that has done so much for literally millions of people. Without root canals, we’d have millions of people walking around with rampant decay, gaps in their smile, or worse, potentially deadly abscesses. So today, I have 5 facts about root canals I believe will revise your view about the procedure. I’m not asking you to jump in line for a root canal, but consider these facts if you ever find yourself in need of a root canal.

1. Root canals are painful. MYTH. This is one of the more frustrating myths out there. Once upon time, this myth wasn’t totally unfounded, but it’s simply not the case anymore. At least it shouldn’t be. Our office uses special rotary endodontic tools to provide a more comfortable procedure. We also use nitrous oxide to give you a comfortable dental visit.

2. Root canals are unhealthy. MYTH. This myth was started more than 100 years ago. The doctor advocated dental extractions over root canals. The theory was that the material used in root canals can make you sick. While some people still believe this myth, there is no evidence that it’s true. In all the years of studying root canals, dentists and researchers have never positively found that root canals are bad for your health.

3. Extracting teeth is just as good as a root canal. MYTH. This goes along with the myth that root canals are dangerous. There are really only two healthy ways to address an abscessed tooth — extraction or root canal. Extracting a tooth can disrupt the alignment of your healthy teeth, while also creating unsightly gaps in your smile. After a root canal, we restore the tooth with a crown, keeping it functional for years to come.

4. I’m not in pain, so I don’t need a root canal. MYTH. This same myth applies to cavities. You don’t have to be in pain to have a dental problem. It’s possible to suffer from nerve pain if you need a root canal, but it’s also possible to feel nothing at all and still have an abscess or damaged root. The only true way to know if you have a problem with the root of the tooth is with an X-ray. Our office provides low-radiation digital X-rays to precisely diagnose your dental issues.

5. Root canals are often unsuccessful. MYTH. Root canals are one of the most successful treatments in dentistry. With new technology and treatment techniques, we can complete root canals with a high level of success. Studies have shown that root canals are successful 98 percent of the time. A successful root canal saves the tooth.

As I said before, we don’t expect any of you to jump at the chance for a root canal. A root canal is very much a last-resort procedure. We never recommend a root canal unless it’s the only way to save the tooth. But, as you also learned, the treatment is highly successfully. I only ask that you consider these facts if you’re told you need a root canal. Don’t let the stereotypes take away from the benefits of root canals.

If you’re looking for a quality family dentist trained in all phases of dentistry, call our office today at 248-329-3552.