There are a few things that people dread more than root canal treatment. Media of all types refer to it as the standard by which all other bad things are compared. As in, I’d rather have a root canal than (fill in the blank).
While no one is going to go out of their way to actually WANT a root canal treatment performed, there is little reason to fear the treatment itself. In fact, I would much rather experience a root canal treatment than having a tooth removed (which is often the only alternative). Let me sum it up this way, it’s boring!
Okay, how about tedious, monotonous or sleep inducing. In fact there is no treatment we perform in our office that people routinely fall asleep during other than root canal treatment. So why the bad reputation for this treatment if it really isn’t so terrible?
My belief is that it stems from the individual dentist’s approach to the treatment. There are some in our profession who jump on the chance to start and thereby bill for a treatment at the very first opportunity they can. A patient in the hand, so to speak. Since patients tend not to go to the dentist and often wait until they are in pain, the dentist is afraid that if they don’t treat the patients while they have them there, they will likely lose the patient.
Unfortunately, if the tooth that needs the treatment is infected, which is often what brought the patient to the office in the first place, pain, then it is very difficult and sometimes nearly impossible to get the tooth completely numb.
What do you think happens when a tooth isn’t numb and the dentist starts poking into the nerve? You got it, PAIN!
We studiously avoid this situation by putting our patients on antibiotics BEFORE root canal treatment in the vast majority of cases. Then the tooth is easily made completely numb and the treatment is pain free. This is a small thing perhaps, but critically important to the most important person in our office, you, our patient.