To start our blog today, we’d like to carry out a hypothetical exercise with our dear readers (all three of them). Close your eyes and imagine for a minute that you are out for a walk with a friend in a lovely forest.
The sun is dappling through the trees, there’s a lovely warm breeze blowing, the birds are singing their little hearts out. Have you got the picture?
Suddenly, the path that you're walking on becomes narrower and you find yourself having to duck your head to avoid low-hanging branches.
But as you turn to chat to your friend, you fail to see a branch that’s precisely at head-height. You crash into it and a small shard of splinter gets embedded in your head.
It hurts like hell and you cry out in pain. Your friend rushes over with an air of concern and quickly assesses the situation. He tells you that you have a half-inch splinter embedded in your skin, and proposes that he will take it out for you.
Now here’s the question we’d pose to you about this hypothetical situation. Would you agree to having the splinter removed, thus resolving your problem, or refuse to be treated on the basis that there might be a twinge of pain removing the splinter?
If you’re sane and rational, you’ll opt for the momentary discomfort of having the splinter removed, thus avoiding a potential situation where the splinter festers and causes you major discomfort in the future.
If you think we’ve lost our mind in conjuring up such a scenario in a dental blog, well here’s the point we want to make. Many people go through life putting off a root canal treatment because they wrongly believe that it will be painful.
The fact of the matter is that – just like having the splinter removed – there is a tiny element of discomfort, but this avoids some real pain if you don't take action. And eventually, of course, you’ll lose a tooth.
We’ve had a root canal ourselves about a year ago, and we can tell you with hand over heart that there is minimal discomfort involved, as you are completely anaesthetised throughout the treatment.
Perhaps the bad reputation of root canals is due to the fact that you need two visits to your dentist, each of around an hour. But that’s simply because there’s a lot of work to do – which does not equate to a lot of pain.
And in case you think there’s another form of pain involved in root canals – we’re referring to monetary pain – we can tell you that this is not the case. The typical root canal treatment cost these days is very much affordable as the process has become highly streamlined.
And bear in mind that the root canal cost should be weighed up in terms of the value that you place on a tooth. If you were to lose the tooth, you might be looking at a dental implant or similar treatment. So by saving the tooth, you're getting excellent return on your investment.
If you're currently considering whether to have root canal treatment but would like to know more, may we suggest the following helpful article from the American Association of Endodontists - http://www.aae.org/patients/treatments-and-procedures/root-canals/root-canals.aspx