Why Does the Root Canal Procedure Have a Bad Reputation?

If there’s one thing about root canals that everyone knows, it’s that they’re incredibly painful.

No, no. That’s not true. While everyone thinks root canal treatment is painful, that’s where they’re a bit mistaken. For some reason – root canal treatment and endodontic therapy has worked up quite the reputation. We think a lot of that misconception has to with the simple fact that technology has changed and dentists have gotten better.

Every single tooth has internal roots that anchor your tooth to your jawbone. Inside of your tooth ad its roots, the hollow central chamber contains an inner pulp, along with a network ot blood vessels, tissues, and nerves. As your tooth is growing, the dental pulp helps it stay growing and nourished. Later in life, after your teeth are mature, they rely on the dental pulp less (and can even do without it). However, while your teeth don’t rely on your root canals and the dental pulp as much in adulthood, its still possible for the dental pulp to cause pain if it becomes damaged or infected.

When it comes to dental patients, however, the good thing is that root canal treatment does not deserve its bad reputation. The most common pulp damage symptoms typically begin with pain and can extend to swelling and tenderness of your gums. In any case, no matter what’s wrong with your tooth, the pain comes before the treatment. The most important thing for patients to remember is that, despite its reputation, the root canal treatment procedure is no more uncomfortable or painful than a dental filling. Better yet, its goal is to alleviate your pain without creating more. Fortunately, with modern equipment and advanced surgery techniques, many patients won’t even feel the procedure.

But where does the “bad reputation come from?” There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “I’d rather have a root canal than go to [the DMV]!” Substitute what you will, but the sentiment stays the same – the attitude surrounding root canal treatment is never good.  And many patients, from those who have never had root canal treatment to those that have had many, always express a certain level of apprehension when it comes to the treatment. A lot of this probably has to do with the history of dental equipment. “Back in the day” when dental drills weren’t quite as advanced and local anesthetics weren’t as powerful, it would have been far less surprising to learn that root canal treatment was painful.

Today, things are quite a bit different. If you’re expecting root canal treatment you can rest easy knowing that most patients say the process isn’t much different than getting a dental filling. So next time you think about root canal treatment, break the cycle! Don’t spread the wrong message, and approach your own root canal treatment with confidence.

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