Has your dentist told you recently that you need a root canal? If so, you aren’t alone. Every year, over 15 million root canals get performed throughout the United States.
You’ve probably heard so many horror stories of root canals over the years that you’re wondering, “Are root canals worth it?” The short answer is that yes, they are.
You don’t need to be scared of this beneficial procedure. Read on to learn seven reasons why root canals are way less intimidating that people make them out to be.
What Is a Root Canal?
The goal of a root canal procedure is to get rid of bacteria that have taken up residence in an infected root canal (the inner portion of the tooth). Removing this bacteria helps to prevent reinfection and saves the natural tooth from needing to be pulled altogether.
During the root canal treatment, the dentist will remove all of the infected and/or inflamed pulp from inside of the tooth. They’ll then clean and disinfect the inside of the tooth before filling and sealing it.
Reasons Not to Fear Root Canals
Understanding what happens during a root canal (and how straightforward the procedure is) can help quite a bit when it comes to minimizing your fear. There are plenty of other reasons why you don’t need to be afraid of going into a root canal, including the following:
1. It’s a Straightforward Procedure
Remember, dentists perform millions of root canals every year. This is a very common and straightforward procedure. Your dentist knows what they’re doing and, in most cases, will be able to get straight to work after you sit down in the chair.
Complications associated with root canal procedures are quite rare. This means that the chances of you needing additional procedures or having the treatment take longer than you anticipated are low.
Remember, too, that you can always schedule a consultation with your dentist to talk about the root canal process before you have one done. This can put you at ease and help you to feel confident going in for your appointment.
2. You Won’t Feel Any Pain
It’s a common myth that root canals are extremely painful. During the actual root canal procedure, though, you shouldn’t experience any pain at all.
It can be uncomfortable having your mouth open and your tooth worked on for several hours, it’s true. However, your dentist will administer anesthetics that numb the area and save you from having to actually feel what’s going on. Many people who undergo root canals say that the procedure felt no different from having a cavity filled.
3. They’re Much Faster Than They Used to Be
A root canal does take longer to perform than a run-of-the-mill cavity filling. The procedure has become a lot more efficient than it once was, though.
Most people spend a couple of hours in the chair before they’re able to head home. Back in the day, these treatments took much longer than that.
Consider downloading some podcast episodes or a new audiobook to listen to during the procedure. This can make it a lot more enjoyable and will help you relax.
4. Your Dentist Will Keep You Calm
Dentists understand that root canals are nerve-wracking procedures. They also have learned in school and from their own clinical experience the best ways to keep patients calm during these and other treatments.
If your dentist senses that you’re scared or anxious, or if you tell them yourself, they’ll do what they can to put you at ease. They may talk you through the procedure, for example, and give you some extra time to get ready before they get to work.
5. You Won’t Have to Spend a Fortune
Some people are less concerned about the pain associated with root canals and more concerned with how much they’ll cost them. Root canals can be pricey, but they actually aren’t as expensive as some other dental procedures.
For a front tooth, you can expect to pay a little over $750, and bicuspids cost about $879 on average. Root canals on molars are the most expensive, costing an average of $1,111. This might seem like a lot of money, but your dentist will likely work with you to set up a payment plan so you’re not shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars all at once.
6. The Procedure Works
Root canals are very effective. They have a high lifetime success rate, and they can save you from needing other more painful (and more expensive) dental treatments in the future.
After a root canal, you’ll be less likely to need to have your tooth pulled. This would then require you to have to look into dental implants to fill in the gap (or you’d just have to accept walking around with a hole in your smile).
7. You Can Get Back to Real Life Right Away
The recovery time for root canals is quite short, too. You’ll want to take the day of the treatment off from work. After that, though, most people are able to get back to their normal activities without any problems.
Often, strong painkillers aren’t required after this treatment, either. If you do experience root canal pain symptoms, you can get all the relief you need from an over-the-counter medicine like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Are Root Canals Worth It?
Prior to reading this article, your answer to the question “Are root canals worth it?” was probably a resounding “no.” Now that you know more about the reasons not to fear a root canal, though, it’s time to change your tune.
Root canals can save your oral health and improve your quality of life in a major way. Of course, it would be nice if you didn’t have to go through one, but they’re not as scary or difficult as some folks would have you believe.
Keep this information in mind so you can stay calm as you get ready for your upcoming appointment. If you need more information on dental care or dental health, be sure to visit the rest of our site today.