When most people think about root canals, they likely get nervous and hope that they never have to experience one in their lifetime. In reality, it’s more likely that you’ll need a root canal at some point in your lifetime. In fact, more than 25 million Americans need to receive at least one root canal treatment every year. That’s a lot of root canals!
Fortunately, root canals aren’t as scary as you might think. On the contrary, they are incredibly helpful and necessary in the pursuit of saving teeth and ensuring you maintain good oral health.
Of course, as it goes with most dental procedures, this one carries its own pros and cons. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of root canals.
Why Root Canals?
Before understanding the good, the bad and the ugly of root canals, it’s important to understand why they’re so important.
So, why do people need to get root canals? Simply put, you need to get a root canal if your tooth has been severely damaged or has decayed to the point of reaching the root.
If this happens to you, don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. It’s extremely important that address the problem immediately so it doesn’t lead to lasting complications like tooth loss.
Now that you know why you might need to get a root canal, let’s take a look at the benefits of the procedure. In the moment, it may be difficult to find the benefits of a dental procedure like root canals, but there are more than you might think. Some of these benefits include:
- Save your tooth. This is easily the best benefit of getting a root canal. If you don’t get a root canal when it’s necessary, you run the high risk of losing the affected tooth altogether. Saving your tooth in its natural state allows you to continue eating the same foods and maintaining your natural smile. It also helps you prevent more expensive procedures like dental implants or dentures.
- Simple and routine procedure. Getting a root canal is a simple and routine procedure with which most dentists and endodontists are very familiar. Overall, the simplicity of root canal therapy prevents you from spending a ton of time in your dentist’s office.
- Eliminates pain and discomfort. Ultimately, living with the pain or an infected or damaged tooth can be life altering. Once you complete your root canal therapy, you’ll be pain free again.
While root canals are beneficial overall, there are still some downsides to the process that you might experience. Fortunately, these downsides aren’t deal breakers, and they’re definitely worth the benefits. Some of the downsides of getting a root canal include:
- Your tooth’s structure will change. Due to the nature of the procedure, it’s a plain fact that your tooth’s structure will not be the same after the treatment. Since tooth canals fully remove the root and pulp of your tooth, it may not be as strong as it once was. In the future, you may need to get a crown to reinforce your tooth and prevent it from breaking.
- Time commitment. Root canal therapy is a longer procedure than you’re liked used to. At minimum, you should expect to spend at least 90 minutes at your dentist’s office in order to complete the procedure. This can be uncomfortable for some people.
- Residual pain. You may experience a little bit of pain after getting a root canal treatment. However, the good news is that this pain isn’t permanent by any means. It will likely dissipate after a day or two.
For this section, we’re going to take a little bit of a different approach. Let’s talk about the ugly of opting out of a root canal treatment. If you decide to wait too long or to not get a root canal whatsoever, you might experience some of these results:
- Severe pain and sensitivity. Root canals affect the pulp of your tooth, which is where all the nerve endings are. If you don’t get a root canal, you will likely continue experiencing severe pain and sensitivity, which can greatly affect your ability to eat and speak.
- Tooth loss. If you don’t get a root canal in a timely manner, there’s a very high possibility of losing the tooth, meaning you’ll need to get an implant.
- Infection and abscess. If you let a root canal sit for long enough, you’ll likely get infected gums and even tooth abscesses. These are painful and can have lasting health complications in your mouth and throughout your body.