What is Endodontics?
This is an area of dentistry concerned with the treatment of the diseased root canal structure by a dentist.
Being a holistic dental practice we are very keen to provide dentistry, which emulates nature as closely as possible. However, we also understand our limitations –dentistry is not a cure it is merely a compromise, which allows us to prolong our ability to hold to our dentition for as long as possible. Hopefully giving us the opportunity to enjoy our food and hold onto our jawbones for the rest of our lives. If we start losing our teeth prematurely then our jawbones wither away. Our eating efficiency and resultant ability to extract nutrients from food also diminishes.
There are many concerns by the general public of the dangers of root canal treatment. The three most common myths are explored below:
Myth #1: Root canal treatment is painful.
Reality: Competent Root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it.
The perception of root canals being painful began decades ago but with modern technologies, the right training and appropriate anaesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. (https://integrateddentalcare.com/painless-laser-dentistry-edinburgh/topical-gels/)
In fact, a recent survey showed that patients who have experienced root canal treatment are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not had root canal treatment.
Most patients see their dentist or endodontist when they have a severe toothache. The toothache can be caused by damaged tissues in the tooth. Root canal therapy removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, thereby relieving the pain you feel.
Myth #2: Root canal treatment causes illness.
Myth: Patients searching the Internet for information on root canals may find sites claiming that teeth receiving root canal (endodontic) treatment contribute to the occurrence of illness and disease in the body. This claim is based on long-debunked and poorly designed research performed nearly a century ago by Dr. Weston A. Price and more recently Dr. Mercola
Reality: There is no valid, scientific evidence linking root canal-treated teeth and disease elsewhere in the body. Decades of research since the 1930s have contradicted Dr. Price’s findings and more recent research continues to support the safety of dental treatment as it relates to overall health. We have to remember that techniques and technologies have advanced exponentially since the time of Dr. Price. We are living in a time where the smartphone, which fits into your pocket, is more powerful than a 1950’s computer that filled a whole room.
- The presence of bacteria in teeth and the mouth has been an accepted fact for many years. But the presence of bacteria does not constitute “infection” and is not necessarily a threat to a person’s health. Bacteria are present in the mouth and teeth at all times, even in teeth that have never had a cavity or other trauma. Research shows that the healthy immune system takes care of bacteria in a matter of minutes.
- When a severe infection in a tooth requires root canal treatment that treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal structure and prevent re-infection of the tooth.
- Tooth extraction (similar to an amputation) is a potentially traumatic procedure and is known to cause a significantly higher incidence of bacteria entering the bloodstream; endodontic treatment confined to the root canal system produces much less trauma and a much lower incidence and magnitude of bacteria entering the blood stream.
- There is no adequate replacement for the natural tooth – it should be saved whenever possible. Root canal treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost effective way to treat infected teeth because it is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of an implant. In most cases, endodontic treatment allows patients to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.
Myth #3: A good alternative to root canal treatment is extraction.
Truth: Saving your natural teeth, if possible, is the very best option.
Nothing can completely replace your natural tooth. An artificial tooth can sometimes cause you to avoid certain foods. Keeping your own teeth is important so that you can continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary to maintain the proper nutrient balance in your diet. If your dentist recommends extraction, ask whether root canal treatment is an option.
Endodontic treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulp and is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant.
Endodontic treatment in the right hands also has a very high success rate. Many root canal-treated teeth last a lifetime.
Placement of a bridge or an implant will require significantly more time in treatment and may result in further procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.
Millions of healthy endodontically treated teeth serve patients all over the world, years and years after treatment. Those healthy teeth are helping patients chew efficiently, maintain the natural appearance of their smiles and enhance their enjoyment of life. Through endodontic treatment, endodontists and dentists worldwide enable patients to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.