The way my work colleagues recoiled in horror when I informed them I was going to have root canal treatment you would have thought I had just told them I was about to undergo some terrible and highly painful experimental treatment that could cost me my life, or worse. The reality is that the root canal treatment procedure is a very common treatment indeed, and the dentists that carry them out will have done hundreds of the same operation in their careers. It is a tried and tested alternative to complete removal of a troublesome tooth. In my case I went in for two short procedures, each lasting no more than an hour or so. The worst part was probably the smell as the dentist cleaned the roots of my tooth canals. According to the dentist at the time, one of my canals was particularly deep and twisted, which made his life more difficult, but you wouldn't have known it. Both procedures were entirely pain free, and there was no more discomfort than when having a normal filling treatment. The pain relief that I enjoyed once the first procedure was complete was absolutely amazing, leaving me wondering why I had waited until the pain was totally unbearable in the first place. The honest reason is, I had the same misconceptions as my colleagues about the root canal procedure, and the subsequent pain. I had only to endure about two says of slight tenderness around the tooth and gum that had been treated, which was bliss compared to the former agony.
Because of their lack of information on the root canal treatment sufferers of acute tooth pain often go for the tooth removal option, thinking that it is a much cheaper and cleaner treatment, with more of a success rate. Unfortunately these people are misinformed. If you are quite young, one of the worst things you can do is have a tooth pulled completely, because as you age your teeth naturally migrate forward, and if you have space for them to move into they will. This can lead to an adjustment in your bite, which can need surgery to correct further down the line. In addition, when you pull a tooth you are removing another tooth's partner, so when you chew there is nothing to hit back against the opposing tooth. This can cause the opposing tooth to come loose, and reduces the stress on the bone which holds your tooth in place. This is a type of stress shielding that can lower the density of the bone, and cause the surrounding teeth to come loose. When you look at these lasting effects compared to the minor after effects of root canal treatment, the choice seems obvious.
I tend to find that the more you educate yourself about a certain procedure the less scary it is.