dentist diagnosing root canal
Badge field

Myths About Root Canal Treatment

Published date field

Myth 1: Root canal therapy is usually painful.

When people are told that they need a root canal therapy, they often worry that it's going to be painful. However, when local anaesthetic is used to numb the tooth and the surrounding area then typically the root canal procedure is painless. If you are especially anxious your dentist may be able to additionally provide a sedative, such as nitrous oxide.

Myth 2: Once the tooth's nerves are removed, I won't feel any pain.
It is true that during root canal therapy the nerve tissue of the tooth is removed, and therefore the tooth will no longer be sensitive to hot or cold food or beverages, or other types of stimuli. However it can take some time for a tooth that has had root canal therapy to completely settle, and until it does, you may still have some discomfort. If this happens to you, your dentist can prescribe a medicine to reduce inflammation.

Myth 3: Why bother getting a root canal done when I'm just going to need the tooth to be taken out eventually?
It is not correct to assume that the treated tooth will eventually need to be extracted. In fact, most root canal therapies are successful and result in the tooth being saved.

Myth 4: I'm not feeling any pain, so I don't really need a root canal.
Many teeth that need root canal therapy will not cause pain. But that does not mean the tooth is okay. Your dentist and endodontist have ways to see if the tooth's pulp is damaged or infected. If it is, then you will need root canal therapy, even if the tooth doesn't hurt. If you see something near a damaged tooth that looks like a pimple, see your dentist. The "pimple", called a fistula, is a tunnel of tissue draining pus from an infection. There is no pain because the fistula keeps pressure from building in the tissue. It can come and go. The infection must be treated, and the tooth probably needs root canal therapy. Without treatment, nearby tissues will become infected.

Myth 5: A root canal means I'm having the roots of my tooth, or my whole tooth, removed.
The whole point of root canal therapy is to try to save a tooth, not to remove it. Your tooth is not removed and neither are your tooth roots. The root canals are cleaned and shaped on the inside only. The nerve tissue is removed along with some of the inside part of the root to ensure that all of the bacteria have been removed.

Myth 6: After I get a root canal, I won't have to go back to the dentist for some time.
Once you have received root canal therapy, you will need to make follow-up appointments to have a permanent filling or a crown put on the tooth. The temporary filling that is placed after the pulp has been removed will protect the root from infection for only a short time. A permanent filling or a crown must be placed to ensure that bacteria don't enter the canal.


This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.