By Dr Pearlyn Pan
Many misconceptions surround various dental treatments, and we aim to bust such myths and give you the facts. Here we discuss the popular root canal treatment, which is also shrouded in myths that could potentially confuse us.
Root canal treatments are commonly associated with pain because patients typically feel significant pain in their tooth before undergoing treatment. A root canal treatment removes infected tissues in abscessed or significantly damaged teeth, thereby eliminating the pain. With the usage of modern technology and local anaesthetics to numb the offending tooth and surrounding area, most cases are treated efficiently and comfortably. Some patients even tend to fall asleep during the procedure!
The pain is usually dramatically reduced after a root canal treatment appointment. Still, it is also customary to experience some discomfort/tenderness for a couple of days after as the procedure can cause some inflammation around the root ends. These symptoms will typically subside quickly and can also be effectively managed with over-the-counter painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen.
Removal of a problematic tooth may seem like a more straightforward solution initially. However, patients are usually not prepared for the long term repercussions arising from a missing tooth, especially one that is at the back of the mouth. Irreversible tilting and shifting of the neighbouring teeth can result in problems of food trapping, collapsed bite as well as an increased rate of deterioration of the rest of the teeth due to reduced bite support.
Even with replacement options via a bridge/implant (which also require more time, costs and possible complexities in treatment), nothing can completely replace the feel and functionality of your natural tooth.
Root canal treatments have very high success rates and many root canal-treated teeth last a lifetime.
In some situations, a tooth can be infected but not cause pain. These include the early stages of infection, as well as ‘dead’ teeth that no longer have proper blood supply due to a chronic pulp infection. Some of these damaged teeth could appear discoloured or even be associated with a ‘pimple’, or fistula, on the gum. This fistula is a tunnel through which pus is being drained from within the jawbone due to a tooth infection.
These ‘pimples’ may seem to come and go. Still, the infection will not self-resolve and root canal treatment of the affected tooth would probably be required to prevent further spread of the infection to adjacent teeth and surrounding jawbone.
Skilled dentists look out for signs and symptoms as well as perform specific tests to determine if you could have a tooth infection that calls for a root canal treatment.
Whilst searching for information on root canal treatments, some patients may come across websites claiming that root canal treated teeth contribute to the occurrence of certain illnesses and medical problems in the body.
These false claims are based on outdated, poorly designed research done in the early 1900s, at a time before medicine understood the causes of many diseases. By the 1930s, a few well-designed studies using more modern research techniques swiftly discredited these findings. Till today, there is no valid, scientific evidence linking root canal treated-teeth with disease elsewhere in the body. In contrast, there is a huge body of evidence for a root canal treatment to be a safe and effective procedure to eliminate bacteria from infected teeth.
The benefits of root canal treatment are typically long-lasting as long as they are done well. At DP Dental, our dentists perform root canal therapy with the latest techniques, equipment (such as using lasers for deeper root disinfection and microscopes for magnification) and materials that lead to high levels of long-term success.
That said, after completion of the root canal treatment, most teeth would require a crown to be placed over them to ensure that the weakened tooth is well supported and that bacteria do not leak into the canals once again. Same-day CEREC crowns can be done at our clinic for a more convenient, comfortable and seamless experience.
There you have it. We hope this information was helpful to you. Should you have any doubts, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!