6 myths busted for the infamous Root Canal TreatmentDr Alice Yang
- Root canal treatment is painful
Generally root canal treatments are done under local anaesthesia just like fillings. If you are numbed up, you shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure. It is possible that when your tooth is infected, local anaesthetic solutions don’t work as well as they normally do. You can advise your dentist if you still has sensation in the tooth after the anaesthetic.
- You only need a root canal when you experience toothache
Toothache is a good indicator that there’s something wrong with the tooth. However, an x-ray image can determine whether a tooth’s pulp is infected therefore warranting a root canal treatment. Sometimes a tooth can have a large abscess without causing any symptoms.
- Root canal treatment darkens teeth
Discolouration is one of the common side effects following a root canal treatment. A tooth without its pulp (nerve and blood vessels) after a root canal can slowly discolour as it loses its blood supply. The tooth can be completely healthy despite its darker colour. Your dentist might recommend bleaching for the discoloured tooth, which generally has a very good outcome.
- Root canal treated teeth don’t last long and still need to be taken out eventually
One of the most common reason why root canals fail is fracture of the teeth. Teeth are weakened after root canals due to a significant portion of the tooth structure being removed during the process, especially if the tooth needs a large filling at the same time. Your dentist might recommend a full coverage crown/cap to provide the full protection if the tooth is at risk of fracturing. The latest research shows root canal treated molars supported with full cast crowns are retained at a much higher rate than teeth without crowns. A small portion (5-10%) of root canal treatments can fail due to bacteria resistance, difficult canal anatomy and operator error, etc.
- Tooth extraction and implant are better alternative to root canals
Removal of a tooth should be considered the “last resort” since the replacement is never as good as your natural tooth! Tooth extraction and implant replacement involve surgical procedures that also have their risks.
- Root canal treatment is expensive
Root canal treatment is usually done over more than one visit and can be paid with a payment plan. The cost of root canal varies according to which tooth is getting the treatment. Generally front teeth with simple root canal come with a cost of 3 fillings. Molars with multiple root canals come with a cost of 5 fillings.