6 Myths About Common Dental Procedures, Busted

In the world of dentistry, myths are abundant.

Have you heard the one about how root canals are more painful than childbirth? What about your friend’s cousin’s boyfriend who got a dental filling and could never chew again? A quick internet forum search or a survey among friends is all it takes to become terrified of even the most common dental procedures.

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Here’s the good news: Most of the scariest-sounding information out there is isn’t actually factual information. The reality of modern dentistry is that most common procedures are safe, relatively comfortable, and unlikely to cause lasting issues. So in the interest of improving our collective peace of mind, let’s put six dental myths to rest for once and for all.

Myth: Dental fillings are highly uncomfortable.

Reality: Thanks to modern tools and numbing agents, having a cavity filled is a pain-free and convenient experience that can be completed in a single appointment. Your dentist will ensure that your tooth and the surrounding tissues are fully numbed with a local anesthetic prior to filling the cavity, so you’ll be wonderfully oblivious to what’s going on in your mouth.

Myth: Getting a dental crown offers protection from cavities.

Reality: It would be great if this were true, but the unfortunate reality is that anyone can develop a cavity underneath a dental crown or cap, even if most of the tooth that would otherwise be visible is covered by the crown. That’s why it’s so important to continue taking the time to properly brush even those teeth that have a dental crown.

Myth: Root canals are extremely painful.

Reality: Believe it or not, root canals are relatively pain-free. They have a bad reputation because they used to be painful procedures—but that was true decades ago, before modern technology and anesthetics came to be what they are today. These days, most root canals are efficient and comfortable. In fact, root canals are actually designed to alleviate the pain caused by an infected tooth, not cause additional pain.

Myth: It’s better to remove a tooth than have a root canal.

Reality: It’s better to save your natural tooth whenever possible. Because of the myth that root canals are extremely painful (see above), many people profess that they would rather remove a tooth than undergo a root canal. But while artificial tooth options have come a long way (see below), it’s still worth saving the natural tooth, when possible, in order to preserve your normal function and aesthetic. 

Myth: Dental bridges are likely to fall out.

Reality: Bridges are designed to provide a permanent solution to tooth loss, so they’re made to be quite sturdy. While it is true that bridges can loosen a bit over time, a quick trip to the dentist can nip any issues in the bud. Your dentist will be able to tighten up the bridge so it continues to do its job for years to come.

Myth: Everyone will notice a dental implant.

Reality: Dental implants are virtually undetectable amongst your natural teeth. That’s because they don’t use any metal and are made of porcelain, which closely mimics the color and translucence of natural chompers. Odds are good that nobody will even know you have an implant unless you point it out yourself.

Before undergoing any dental procedure, it’s important to converse with your doctor so you have all the facts. Clear communication with help ensure that you don’t fear a procedure unnecessarily. Not only that, but separating dental myths from realities can empower you to be a better advocate for yourself and your loved ones when it comes to oral health.