As a general dentist, it’s my responsibility to restore your damaged teeth to good health, and protect your healthy teeth at the same time. Often, I do this by performing a root canal, and many of my patients shudder at the thought of the procedure.

Unfortunately, root canals have a bad reputation in the dental world, but by performing a root canal on your damaged, decaying tooth, I can usually save the tooth from extraction. The truth is, like all dental procedures, root canals have come a long way in the recent decades thanks to advanced technology that has heightened the level of comfort and precision during dental procedures.

Some common myths about root canal therapy include:

  • Root canal therapy will hurt. Up until recently, root canals were thought to be one of the most painful dental procedures. Usually, I will perform a root canal when you experience pain from a damaged tooth. While a root canal is not the most comfortable dental procedure out there, it will alleviate pain, not cause pain, and most patients report feeling much better after the tooth has been restored.
  • A root canal requires several appointments. Depending on the extent of the damage and infection in your tooth, I can perform a root canal in just one or two appointments. During the first part of the procedure, I will clean the infected are and remove all damaged matter from within the canal of your tooth. Then, I will perform your root canal, leaving the maximum amount of your tooth intact as possible. It is necessary that you come back to my office to have your dental crown placed following your procedure to ensure the stability and visual appearance of your restored tooth.
  • Benefits of root canal therapy won’t last long. A tooth treated with a root canal is a healthy tooth, and a healthy tooth can potentially last a lifetime. Failing to have a crown placed over the tooth following a root canal can result in further damage, but with a dental crown and proper oral hygiene, your tooth will be strong for years to come.
  • It’s easier to have the tooth extracted. As a preventive and general dentist, I strive to keep as much of your natural tooth structure intact as possible. While tooth extraction may seem less involved, the extraction process is much more invasive and requires a longer healing time than with a root canal. Additionally, tooth extraction can lead to other problems later in life, including tooth shifting to compensate for empty space, increased risk of oral and general infections, and jaw bone degeneration, which can lead to further tooth loss.

I’m Dr. Corbet Locke, a general dentist in Waco, Texas, and I encourage you to call my dental office at (254) 776-4888 if you suffer from tooth pain.