Myth Busters – Dentist edition – Top 6 Root Canal Myths

Excerpt: Lots of people are under the impression that root canals are painful. However, root canals are no more painful...

Myths about root canals have lasted since the previous century, many of the false claims rely on misinformation, outdated knowledge, or outright ignorance. Root canals are a common easy solution that dentists have known about and relied on for a very long time. It’s time to bust some of these myths once and for all.

Myth #1: Root Canals Hurt

Lots of people are under the impression that root canals are painful. However, root canals are no more painful than having a filling done. Dentists use many tools at their disposal to decrease the likelihood of pain, such as local anesthesia. Dentistry has evolved specific tools to make the procedure as painless as possible.

Myth #2: Root Canals Require Many Trips To The Dentist

It is very common to complete a root canal procedure in as little as one or two trips to the dentist. However; not all root canal procedures are as easily completed, here are some possible issues that may arise:

  • The tooth is heavily infected.
  • How difficult the root canal is.
  •  Whether or not you need a specialist.
    •  General dentists can perform root canals, but if it is a particularly difficult root canal, the patient may need to be referred to an endodontist. Endodontists are specially trained dentists that perform RCT on teeth that are especially challenging such as teeth with curled roots, teeth with very fine or difficult to locate canals and/or teeth that have already received RCT but require re-treatment. 

Myth #3: Root Canal Treatment Causes Illness

In general, root canals do not cause illness of any kind.  Bacteria is always in the mouth in varying amounts, a root canal as long it’s properly performed will not cause illness. This myth originated from outdated research done in the earliest 20th century and has not been verified or supported in follow-up studies.  

Myth #4: A Tooth Needs To hurt Before You Should Consider A Root Canal

Just because there is no pain, does not make a tooth ineligible for a root canal. Your dentist will perform a variety of tests on your teeth and will then decide if the root canal procedure is an appropriate one.

Myth #5:  Tooth Extraction Is Better Than Root Canal Therapy

Saving your original teeth is almost always the better alternative to removing them. If you save your original teeth, less special maintenance needs to be performed, and less care is needed in your day-to-day oral regimen.

Myth #6: Root Canals Cause Cancer

This is a dangerous myth that comes from the ‘foci of infection theory’. This theory is based on the research of Dr. Weston Price who practiced in the early 20th century, He assumed that leaving a canal space without live pulp would lead to many varying forms of illness. Modern dentistry practices sterilize the area and remove harmful bacteria from the impacted tooth so that it remains uninfected. The American Medical Association found in 2013 that no such risk occurs when root canal therapy is implemented.


Root canals are a common solution to damaged and/or infected teeth. They allow you to keep your natural teeth, can be done quickly, and don’t hurt nearly as much as people may think. 
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