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Root Canals Are Painful & Other Myths

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

Growing up you probably learned to fear root canals from your friends, family, and even the TV. For all the good they do, they have a bad rap! We talked to Dr. Jeffrey Yui, our South San Francisco in-house endodontist, to help us knock down some of the most common root canal myths out there. Hopefully you'll pass down the wisdom to the next generation.

Myth 1: “Root Canal Treatment Is Painful”

Many adults struggle with dental anxiety. The prospect of going to the dentist may fill them with dread, even for a simple cleaning appointment, so we understand why a patient might expect something horrible and painful when they get the news that they need root canal treatment. "Thanks to modern technology and anesthetics, root canal treatment can be performed quickly and comfortably," explained Dr. Jeffrey Yui, "The best part is that the pain from your tooth will be gone once the damaged tissues in the tooth are removed."

Myth 2: “If My Tooth Doesn’t Hurt, I Don’t Need Root Canal Treatment”

A common assumption people make is that if their teeth don’t hurt, they’re healthy. This isn’t always true. In some cases, the tooth may already have died, but it still needs root canal therapy to prevent a dangerous infection. "After my clinical and radiographic exam, I can determine whether or not root canal treatment is needed,"says Dr. Yui.

Myth 3: “Root Canal Treatment Is Only A Temporary Fix”

Some patients are skeptical of root canal treatment because they think the benefits won’t last very long. This is not true. A tooth does become brittle after root canal treatment, and the grinding forces from chewing and talking may cause the crown on the tooth to break, but this is only a problem with the restoration, not the root canal itself.

Myth 4: “It’s Better to Just Pull The Tooth”

It might technically be easier to yank a problem tooth than to carefully remove infected pulp, fill in the root, and place a new crown, but that doesn’t mean it’s betterOur natural teeth are nearly always preferable to any kind of false teeth. They look and work better, while an extracted tooth may result in future problems for the surrounding teeth, in addition to a lengthy replacement process. "In the long term, root canal treatment is the best option to keeping your smile healthy and beautiful", says Dr. Yui.

To learn about the steps of root canal treatment, check out this video:

Portrait of Root canal dentist South San Francisco Dr Jeffrey Yui
Dr. Jeffrey Yui, South San Francisco Dental Care Endodontist

The Root Canal Reality

"The truth is that root canal therapy is a great way to save a tooth, and modern dentistry has made the process comfortable and pain-free," says Dr. Jeffrey Yui.

If you’ve been avoiding root canal treatment because of one of these myths, do the best thing for your tooth and schedule a dental appointment today by calling (650) 273-4323.


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