Dentist Blog

Posts for tag: Root Canal


Root canals often get a bum rap. Although the procedure saves millions of teeth every year, it's often erroneously portrayed as an unpleasant experience. And if that wasn't enough, a long-discredited medical theory has found new life on the internet asserting root canals are a health danger.

First off, root canals play an immensely important role in treating teeth with advanced decay. If not promptly treated, a cavity can turn into a major infection of the interior tooth pulp and root canals, and ultimately the supporting bone. Teeth with this level of decay are not long for this world.

A root canal treatment stops this disease process in its tracks. After numbing the tooth and surrounding gums, we drill a small hole into the tooth's interior and then remove all of the infected tissue within the pulp and root canals. After disinfecting these areas, we fill them with a rubber-like substance called gutta percha.

After sealing off the access hole—and later capping the tooth with a life-like crown—the tooth is secure from further decay. And, by the way, the procedure doesn't hurt, thanks to local anesthesia. If anything, any pain caused by the decay attacking the tooth's nerves has now been alleviated.

So, what about the idea floating on the Web that root canals are dangerous? The "root" for this conjecture is a theory by Weston Price, an early 20th Century dentist, that leaving a "dead" body part in the body leads to various health problems (including cancer). That would include a root-canaled tooth, which has had the living tissue in the pulp removed.

There's just one problem—Weston's theory was fully investigated in the 1950s and overwhelmingly discredited. The supposed cancer threat was also reviewed in a 2013 study, which found no link between root canals and increased cancer risk. In fact, dental patients who had undergone several root canals had a diminished risk.

Like all other health procedures, root canals have some risks of complication. But those complications are far from life-threatening—it's tooth-saving benefits are often worth the risk. So, fear not if your dentist says you need a root canal. It won't hurt and it won't endanger your health—and it could save your tooth.

If you would like more information on root canal therapy, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Safety.”

By Robert L. Wyler DDS, SC
April 24, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canal  

Does your tooth or gum look or feel a little different lately? Subtle, and not-so-subtle, changes often occur in teeth in need of root canals. root canalOur Waukesha, WI, dentist, Dr. Robert Wyler, discusses a few things you may notice if you could benefit from root canal therapy.

You have a nagging pain in your tooth

Because tooth pain can occur due to a variety of reasons, it's important to make an appointment in our Waukesha office as soon as you notice it. Pain can be caused by a cavity, a crack or fracture in a tooth, grinding, gum disease, or an inflammation or infection in the pulp at the center of a tooth.

If an inflammation or infection is the cause, you'll need a root canal. During the therapy, your pulp is removed, the root canals are cleaned and shaped, and rods are added to stabilize the tooth. After the tooth drains, you'll receive a rubber-based filling and later a crown to protect the tooth.

You're sick and your tooth won't stop hurting

It may be a coincidence that you don't feel well when your tooth hurts, or you may have developed a bacterial infection called an abscess. Abscesses may cause severe pain, facial swelling, fever, swollen lymph glands, pus around your tooth, or a pimple-like bump on your gum. The infections are dental emergencies and require treatment with antibiotics, in addition to root canal therapy.

Your toothache miraculously got better

A toothache that suddenly goes away isn't a good sign. Pain may stop if the nerve in the tooth dies, but that doesn't mean that your infection has disappeared. In fact, if you don't receive treatment, you can become very sick. The bacteria from the infection can even travel to your heart or brain.

Your tooth has darkened

A change in the appearance of a tooth can be an external sign of an internal problem. It's always a good idea to schedule an appointment if you notice that a tooth has darkened.

You recently experienced trauma to your tooth

A root canal may be needed if your tooth was injured, particularly if it became loose or was knocked out, then re-implanted. Injuries to teeth are also dental emergencies and should be treated as soon as possible.

Do you think your teeth may need a root canal? Call our Waukesha, WI, dentist, Dr. Wyler, at (262) 784-5757 to schedule an appointment.