There’s no shortage of misconceptions about root canals. Indeed, if you believe the rumors you might think having a root canal is on par with torture. Nothing could be further than the truth. Although getting a root canal may not be your preferred way to spend a couple of hours, science and technology have evolved to the point that root canals frankly aren’t much more inconvenient or any more painful than getting a filling. In this article, we will set the record straight, regarding three common myths about root canals.
Root Canal Myth: Having a Root Canal is Extremely Painful
The truth of the matter is, the pain you’re experiencing from a toothache is much worse than the mild discomfort you may feel during a root canal treatment. Thanks to powerful numbing agents which are used to anesthetize the affected tooth and the surrounding area, you aren’t likely to feel much of anything. If you’re particularly anxious about having a root canal, a mild sedative may also be used to help you to relax. If you do experience discomfort during a root canal, it’s likely just muscle strain from having your mouth open for the procedure.
After your root canal is complete you may have some tenderness around the tooth and gums. This is normal and should resolve easily with an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol. Applying an ice pack can also help with numbing and swelling.
Root Canal Myth: Removing The Tooth Is a Good Alternative to Having a Root Canal
This is an outright falsehood. Wherever possible, your natural teeth should be preserved. Pulling teeth that can be safely restored with a root canal is not only less beneficial to your overall oral health and hygiene, but it’s also liable to cost more in the long run.
If you don’t replace a missing tooth you’ll be at risk for the following conditions which can be expensive to treat:
- Shifting of nearby teeth to fill the gap
- Difficulty chewing
- Bone loss
Likewise, if you choose to have a tooth pulled and a bridge or implant placed in the space, you can expect to pay for the extraction and the replacement. Bridges are temporary fixes, so you’ll need to have them replaced eventually as well. Implants, which are currently the gold standard for tooth replacement can be extremely costly. Completing treatment for an extracted tooth can also take months.
By contrast, by having root canal therapy, you can restore and preserve your natural tooth in a single endodontic appointment. This helps to keep the cost down. If you have dental insurance, your plan will also probably cover a significant portion of the treatment. Then, you’ll simply need to return to your regular dentist to have a crown placed over your tooth.
Root Canal Myth: Root Canals Cause Cancer
This myth is particularly disturbing because it’s dangerous. The myth seems to have originated following the release of a documentary film where one man decides that his fatigue, anxiety, and depression are the result of a result canal he had years prior. He then argues that root canals also cause cancer.
Fortunately, there is no research linking root canals to cancer, and the film has been widely discredited. To be clear: root canals do not cause cancer. On the contrary, what the science does show is that individuals who take care of their teeth, and opt for endodontic treatments when necessary have a lower risk of certain cancers.
Root Canal Therapy in New Hampshire
At Elite Endodontics of NH, our practice is exclusively focused on the preservation of natural teeth. We embrace the latest technological advances in root canal therapy, including the use of GentleWave® Root Canal Therapy. If you’ve been referred for endodontic treatment for internal damage to a tooth or teeth, contact Elite Endodontics of NH today by calling 603-882-5455 or requesting an appointment online.
A regular dentist may have a lot of procedures and treatments to offer, but sometimes the concern warrants endodontic treatment from a skilled specialist known as an endodontist.
These professionals handle complex dental procedures that involve the inner tissues of the tooth, generally referred to as the pulp or nerve. Endodontists are highly trained to maneuver through the intricate areas and roots within the tooth in a giant effort to save it.
What is Endodontic Treatment?
Endodontic treatment can include many procedures that involve the interior of the tooth. One of the most common is root canal treatment. In fact, because endodontists spend much of their time performing these procedures, the phrase endodontic treatment is often used interchangeably with root canal treatment.
When a tooth’s nerve and pulp become inflamed or infected, a root canal procedure is used to clear out that inflection and allow the tooth to heal - thus greatly reducing the need for extraction. By adding a crown to restore the tooth’s integrity, it will both look and function beautifully.
Many people get anxious when they hear that they need a root canal. Today, however, this treatment is so common that it is equivalent to most other restorative dental procedures.
Common Endodontic Procedures
Endodontic treatment involves diagnosing and treating complex issues involving the inside of the tooth, such as infection. When concerns involving the teeth reach an endodontist, it is to use special procedures that will save a tooth that would have otherwise been lost. Some of the most common endodontic procedures include:
- Root canal treatment - As discussed above, this is the removal of inflammation and infection within the pulp of the tooth.
- Endodontic retreatment - After a root canal, there are times when the tooth again becomes infected or inflamed. This treatment is a second attempt to clean out the tooth and save it.
- Endodontic surgery or apicoectomy - If a root canal treatment and retreatment do not remove all the inflammation and infection, it may be necessary to go deeper, into the underlying bone area where the very end of the root is removed. This is performed in the office under local anesthesia.
- Cracked teeth - Cracks can happen for a variety of reasons. Many times, your dentist will be able to provide the necessary treatment to restore the tooth. But, when the crack reaches the pulp, a root canal will be necessary.
- Dental trauma - Various trauma and injuries can leave you with complex dental needs. Because endodontists are so familiar with the inner workings of the tooth, as well as strive to do everything possible to save a tooth, they are a great asset for handling these situations.
Endodontic Treatment at Elite Endodontics of NH
At Elite Endodontics of NH, we have been saving teeth for over two decades. Using the most advanced treatments available, our team can provide relief from pain while doing everything necessary to avoid extraction.
Getting rid of decay is one of the first major steps in restoring your oral health. And, root canal treatment - an intricate procedure that involves accessing tiny root canals found deep within the tooth - is one that will help clean out decay and infection, ultimately saving your tooth. When it is concluded, the dentist will temporarily seal up the tooth until you have a crown placed on the tooth to restore its integrity.
Although it is a rather common procedure, it does require that you take a few precautions - including choosing the right foods to eat and the right foods to avoid.
Eating and Healing After Your Root Canal Treatment
Healing from a root canal treatment is rather quick. Most patients experience a little soreness within the first few days afterwards, but this can often be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. You should continue your regular oral hygiene habits while taking care around the area.
Immediately following your procedure, you should avoid eating until the numbness from the local anesthesia has worn off. But once you are able to, you want to stick to soft foods for the next couple of days.
The area of the root canal will be sensitive. And the temporary seal you have on it is not meant for the constant heavy force of chewing. To preserve it, you may want to consider chewing on the other side.
Foods to Enjoy After Your Root Canal Treatment
Just because you have to eat soft foods, doesn’t mean things have to be boring. If you get creative, you may be surprised at just how many unique soft food combinations there are out there. Add some seasonings, sauces, or gravy and make a delicious meal. You won’t go hungry!
Below are the foods you should consider having at home after your root canal treatment.
- Mac ‘n cheese
- Ice cream
- Soft fruits
- Mashed potatoes
- Tuna salad
- Cream of Wheat
- Nut butter
Foods to Avoid After Your Root Canal Treatment
There are certain foods that can damage your vulnerable tooth. Not to mention that the area is going to be sensitive so chewing on something hard or tough may actually not feel very pleasant. You will want to avoid crunching down or consuming the following foods after your root canal treatment:
- Crunchy fruits and vegetables (such as apples and raw carrots)
- Chewing gum
- Candy (primarily the hard and/or sticky variety)
Your dentist should be able to give you an idea of when it may be alright for you to consider incorporating these foods into your diet again.
Let Elite Endodontics of NH Meet Your Endodontic Needs
If you require root canal treatment from a highly skilled endodontist, then it is time you call Elite Endodontics of NH. We are specialists in saving teeth - and we are ready to save yours.