Root canal: five truths you need to know

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Wednesday, 3 April, 2019

Hearing that you need a root canal is scary for most patients. Root canal treatment is often associated with serious pain and great expense. But it’s not all bad news! Root canal treatment has improved drastically in recent years thanks to new technology. So let’s get to the bottom of this feared procedure with five truths about root canals.

Root canal treatment has come a long way – TRUE

Root canal treatment is needed when infection or tooth decay reaches the pulp chamber of the tooth. Over time, this destroys the nerves in the root of the tooth and eventually causes the tooth to die. Years ago, the only option was to have the tooth out. In modern dentistry, we can treat the infection and save the tooth with root canal treatment.

Problems arise when dentists don’t have the latest technology to effectively diagnose and clean the teeth. This results in bacteria remaining in the nerve canals and infection returns.

Root canal treatment is also often accompanied by a crown to strengthen the visible part of the tooth so that it doesn’t break away from the root. Trying to shortcut the treatment can cause ongoing issues.

 Antibiotics alone can ‘fix’ dental infections – FALSE

The pain associated with root canal treatment is due to the infected pulp of the tooth – which often causes extreme toothache or sensitivity to hot or cold. You may also have swelling or tenderness in the gums.

Many patients hope that the infection can be treated by oral antibiotics. Sorry, it can’t. Antibiotic drugs simply can’t get into the tooth or abscess (infection) around it to kill the infection. Treatment by a dentist is needed.

Root canal treatments cause cancer – FALSE

There is no scientific evidence that root canal treatment cause diseases such as cancer. On the contrary, leaving a tooth to die can lead to many serious issues. Missing teeth can cause bite problems, shifting teeth and jawbone loss. The goal is always to save your tooth not have to extract it.

Root canal treatment varies in cost – TRUE

Aside from price differences among dentists, our teeth have different numbers of canals, which means the cost of root canal treatment can vary significantly. A front tooth (with one canal) will be cost less to treat than a back tooth that has between four and five canals.

3D scanning is the best diagnosis for root canal – TRUE

Dentists can now take a 3D scan of your tooth and assess the extent of the infection prior to even starting root canal treatment. This helps to plan your treatment and ensure you get the best outcome.

Find a dentist with 3D scanning technology and specialist expertise in root canal therapy at www.ineedadentist.com

Dr Kirsten Miscamble is a graduate of Griffith University on the Gold Coast where she was awarded the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence. Having recently moved from Tweed Heads, Kirsten has quickly become part of The Dental Studio family. She is passionate about providing nothing but the best dental care for her patients. Book online to see Kirsten or phone our friendly team to make your next appointment.