Four Root Canal Misconceptions

Four Root Canal Misconceptions​​​​​​​

August 4, 2017

Modern dentistry has evolved significantly, as a trip to the dentist has become a much more comfortable experience for patients. In fact, even root canal treatment, which has long been the poster child for negative stereotypes about dental care, can be looked at differently. However, erasing that long-standing bad reputation will take time until more patients experience these improvements first-hand. As a result a few key misconceptions still exist. Gus Khalifa, D.D.S., M.S., and Thomas Lammot, D.D.S., of Canyon Ridge Endodontics address a few of these primary misconceptions.


Misconception #1: Root Canals are Painful

Lammot: The most important factor to making the root canal procedure a pain-free experience for your patient is proper numbing and anesthesia. If a patient has a “hot tooth” and they aren’t given enough anesthesia, then that is when it becomes painful. One thing that makes our practice unique is our high-tech equipment such as the cat-scan machine, known as the CBCT. Having this machine allows us to better diagnose the severity of the problem, which gives us the information we need to properly numb a patient from the beginning. We are also trained to go a deeper with the anesthesia for the more severe cases, and we are among only a few practices that offer nitrous, in addition to conscious sedation.

Khalifa: The little things we do make a big difference in the treatment and outcome of root canal surgery. The perception is that this is a painful experience for patients but with the combination of the proper and most current equipment and our extensive experience, we ensure your root canal surgery will provide relief from any pain you may have. M


Misconception #2 Root Canal Surgery is a Long Procedure

Khalifa: Endodontists are set up with the specific equipment needed to perform a root canal. Because we have different tools, everything is at our fingertips and we can work more efficiently. Also, our six endodontists have a combined experience of performing more than 100,000 root canals. This allows us to complete a root canal in 30-minutes to an hour rather than 2 hours or more.

Lammot: Also, some practices will have patients make multiple visits to complete their treatment. We do a consult with our patients to get a complete understanding of what needs to be done. Then, we dedicate enough time for the patient to get treatment that day. We recognize people are busy and in most cases need take time off to have the surgery performed


Misconception #3 Root Canal Surgery Has a Low Success Rate

Lammot: Root canal treatment can have up to a 97% success rate depending on the circumstance, with the higher rate of success occurring if the procedure is performed by an endodontist. In fact, endodontists correct many failed root canals that are performed by others.


Misconception #4 Root Canal is the Last Resort

Lammot: Most patients think root canal is the final step in saving a tooth and if an issue arises after the treatment, the tooth will be lost. This is not true. With retreatment, you can save a tooth that previously had a root canal performed to avoid reinfection.

Khalifa: Canyon Ridge is a multi-specialty group meaning we have our team of endodontists and we also have an in-house implantologist to offer more treatment options. If a tooth needs to be extracted and replaced, we can address it that same day. This makes us unique in that our patients don’t have to leave our office without having their tooth either fixed or replaced in one visit.

With recent advances in the dental industry, the script has been flipped in regard to root canals. Thanks to specific instruments and equipment geared toward this procedure, an endodontist has the ability to take what was once widely viewed as a negative and turn it into a positive, pain-free experience for the patient.