I have heard so many root canal horror stories over the years I could write a book. It is often the source of jokes in the movies and media, “I’d rather _ _ _ _ _ (insert gruesome procedure here) than have a root canal”, etc.
On the contrary, root canals can be performed with very little discomfort to you. Most situations where there could be pain occurs when a tooth is so infected the dentist is unable to achieve adequate numbing or the tooth is so inflamed it just wont settle down. With the new anesthetics and antibiotics, pain is very rare.
Often these stories are more attributed to the actual toothache from the abscess than the actual treatment itself.
The most common reasons a tooth needs a root canal includes
- an abscess
- cavity in the nerve
- previous trauma
- cracked tooth
Occasionally, the tooth can be symptom free and still require root canal therapy. This is often the case before the swelling associated with an abscess occurs or if a cavity has reached the nerve under a large filling or crown.
With today’s advancements, root canal therapy can be performed quickly and with very little discomfort. So, before you say, “oh no, not a root canal, just pull it.” reconsider, keep your tooth.