Is it true that root canals are not nearly as painful as they used to be?
Have you been told that you may need to have a root canal? How you react to that prospect probably depends a lot on whether you have ever had one and how long ago it was.
Thanks to modern technology and anesthetics, root canals are routinely being done with relatively little pain. In fact, most people describe them as being comparable to a simple filling. This has actually been true for some time. What’s even more important to know is that the root canal procedure is likely relieving or preventing what would no doubt become a very painful condition.
Why Do People Fear Root Canals?
Unfortunately, it seems to be difficult for root canals to shed their former image of being extremely painful. Part of the reason for this is that, in the past, they were often quite unpleasant. But another reason is that root canals have so often been used to symbolize pain.
When someone wants to make a point about a bad situation, they often compare it to a root canal, which is universally understood to mean exceptionally painful or unpleasant. Comedians typically use it as a reference that can be depended on to get a laugh. When professional golfer, Larry Ziegler, finished a very distant and disappointing third at the Masters Tournament, he is famously known for saying, “The last time I was having this much fun, I was having a root canal.”
The 1976 movie “Marathon Man”, starring Dustin Hoffman, was an award-winning, suspense-filled drama that was very well done. Odds are, though, that most who have seen it only remember the one horrific scene in the dentist’s chair. And, even though that scene had nothing to do with a root canal, it is the image many people flash on when root canals are mentioned.
Root Canals Relieve Pain
It’s time for root canals to have an image makeover. The truth is that root canals do not cause pain but rather relieve the pain caused by infection.
When the soft inner portion of the tooth, the pulp, becomes infected, due to decay or bacteria entering because of an injury, this usually results in a great deal of pain. The options then become to either extract the tooth or perform a root canal.
Your dentist will almost always recommend a root canal. Replacement options have come a long way and are nearly indistinguishable from natural teeth, but, whenever possible, saving your tooth is the best option. Root canal procedures have a very high success rate, and, with proper care, the treated tooth can last a lifetime. Extraction necessitates replacement with an implant or bridge and can require more treatment time, as well as being costlier.
So, what is the final takeaway on root canals? No one is ever likely to look forward to having a root canal, and it’s true that there may be some discomfort following the procedure while the area is healing. Most people find that over-the-counter pain medications are sufficient for the short time this lasts. That said, what is most important to understand is that a root canal is not the dreaded, painful experience that you may have believed it to be…and that it is a highly useful tool that your dentist has to help you maintain the best dental health possible.
If you have questions about root canals or any of our services, whether dentistry or aesthetics, Cohen Dental Care is dedicated to delivering the highest quality services possible. We offer the latest and most current information and services to our patients with a new state-of-the-art facility in Great Neck and Briarwood.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to use our online form by clicking here.