Root canals are notorious for their nightmarish unpleasantness, but this misconception is far removed from reality. It pains us to see our patients with their knickers in a twist over such a pain-free, low-risk procedure.
We’re happy that root canal treatments’ infamy is beginning to slightly decline. In a recent survey, the American Association of Endodontists found that 54% of Americans feel concerned over root canal procedures, down from 60% in 2013.
With Root Canal Awareness Week freshly in our rear-view mirror, now is a great time to learn the truth about this procedure.
Are Root Canals Really That Bad?
It’s not uncommon for patients to run screaming from the dental chair when root canals are mentioned. At Panorama Dental, we want to save our patients from unnecessary stress by helping them realize that the procedure isn’t such a big deal. In fact, it’s one of the most routine dental treatments around. More than 15 million are performed in the United States each year with a 95% success rate.
Dr. Travis Stork, host of The Doctors, even broadcasted his root canal procedure live to help quell viewers’ anxieties. As those who tuned in learned, root canals help to relieve pain, not cause it.
After root canal procedures are over, most patients report experiencing no more discomfort than they would during a cavity filling. Root canals have the added plus of allowing patients to keep natural teeth that may have been in danger of falling out.
Do You Need a Root Canal?
To learn whether you need a root canal, you must contact a dental professional. However, in the meantime, looking out for the following symptoms can help you determine if the procedure is necessary for you. Root canals are often needed in patients who have:
- Discoloration of a tooth
- A small bump on the gums near the tooth that hurts
- Tenderness in the gums surrounding a tooth
- Severe pain when pressure is placed on a tooth, such as while eating
Most root canals can be performed by your normal dentist, but certain cases are handed over to endodontists.
What is an Endodontist?
Below your teeth’s hard layers of enamel and dentin lies the pulp. Dental pulp is made up of nerves and blood vessels and allows you to sense hot and cold.
An endodontist has completed training beyond dental school so that they specialize in dental pulp.
Further information about root canal treatments is available on our root canals page.