Why You Should Never Have A Root Canal

Why you should never have a root canal

Why You Should Never Have a Root Canal

As with any surgical procedure, root canals do come with their risks. Some of these include pain, infections, problems with your other teeth, and the possibility that you’ll require more than one surgery.

While the majority of people have good experiences, that can’t be said for everyone; and there are definitely reasons why you should reconsider getting a root canal. We’ll explore some of them in this article.


What is a root canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that removes bacteria from the pulp of teeth. The tooth’s nerve, along with any infectious material present in the dentin and surrounding bone are removed to prevent infection and pain.

Once the nerve and bacteria have been removed, the root canal is filled with a material that will prevent bacteria from entering and infecting the tooth.

A crown is usually placed over the now weaker tooth in order to protect it from further damage. The tooth should be completely pain free after this procedure.

But there are risks involved.

Root canals require more than one treatment

Unlike regular fillings, root canals can involve two or more trips to the dentist to be completed. The removal of the damaged nerves, the temporary filling, the permanent filling, followed by placing the crown will need to be done across more than one day.

Root canals can be expensive

Root canals are not cheap. In the US, a root canal can cost anywhere from $700 – $1100. That’s just for one tooth!

This high cost is due to the specialized nature of the procedure, and the materials involved in filling the tooth.

Root canals require anesthesia

Local anesthesia is required for the patient’s comfort and safety. Though complications are rare, negative side effects are always possible in people with preexisting conditions.

Root canals can be painful

The injection used to administer the anesthetic can be painful as the medicine enters the gum. The pain is temporary and only lasts as long as it takes for the gum to numb. But if you’re someone with a low pain threshold, this won’t be pleasant.

Additionally, you will likely experience pain or discomfort in the area surrounding the tooth for a few days following the procedure. This is normal and expected.

Other teeth may hurt after root canal treatment

Some people have mentioned experiencing pain around their other teeth for extended periods of time. This is usually down to the dentist overfilling the affected tooth, making biting difficult and painful.

Root canals have a high risk of infection and complications

Due to the invasive and intricate nature of the procedure, the potential for infection and complications is high. Infections following root canal treatment aren’t unusual.

You may get an abscess

An abscess is when pus builds up in an infected tooth and has to be drained by a dentist or oral surgeon. An abscess showing up after having a root canal is the tooth’s way of saying that it’s dying and that, oftentimes, the procedure didn’t work.

Sometimes antibiotics will get rid of it, but other times you might require a second surgery, or removal of the affected tooth.

Root canals are not always successful

Performing a root canal is a very complicated procedure that takes careful work to get right. Due to this, root canals are sometimes unsuccessful in managing the infection and tooth decay, even after multiple tries.

Do all dentists do root canals?

Although all dentists are required to study endodontics as part of their degree, they’re not as equipped as specialists – endodontists, and thus their success rate is lower.

Many times, when a regular dentist’s work is unsuccessful, they will refer a patient to an endodontist in order to “fix” the problem. But these specialists are far more expensive.

Side effects of root canal treatment

The American Association of Endodontists lists the following as some possible side effects of root canal treatment:

  • Prolonged pain

  • Swelling both inside and outside the mouth

  • An allergic reaction to medication

  • Uneven, uncomfortable bite

  • A crown or filling coming out, leaving the tooth exposed and vulnerable

  • Issues you experienced prior to the surgery resurfacing

Is root canal safe during pregnancy?

The root canal treatment itself is considered safe; however, if you are pregnant, you are advised to wait until at least the second trimester to get the procedure done, due to the need for an x-ray. This, the x-ray, can be harmful to the growing fetus.

Also, only some local anesthetics are safe for pregnant women. Dentists know which ones to use, so you should inform them of your pregnancy if you’re considering having the surgery.

Alternatives to root canal treatment

If you opt not to have a root canal, there is usually only one permanent alternative: Tooth extraction.

This is the most common and effective alternative to a root canal. Because the tooth is dying, either the nerves or the tooth itself need to be removed.

While there are more temporary solutions, such as calcium hydroxide or ozone gas, these don’t treat the problem long-term, and you’ll eventually need a root canal or extraction anyway.

Once extracted, bridges or implants can be used to replace missing teeth and give you back your smile.

You cannot leave the affected tooth in your mouth, however, as this would be too painful and would eventually lead to complications in your gums and other teeth.

Natural remedies for root canal infection

If the root canal of your tooth gets infected and you don’t want to do the procedure, there is at least one natural remedy for easing the pain of a root canal infection, and it can be used in conjunction with other treatments.

Clove oil

Clove oil is an effective anti-inflammatory that alleviates pain from toothaches; it’s also antibacterial so it will help to fight off any bacteria that might live inside your mouth.

Final word

Although a root canal might seem daunting, it’s actually not that bad (I’ve had one, I know exactly how it feels).

Your main aim should be to save as many of your teeth as possible, as once they’re gone, they’re not coming back. Thus, if there is a procedure that will help you do that, you should get it.

A good dentist should be able to keep the pain of the procedure to a minimum with local anesthetic, and keep infection from occurring after the surgery.