Root Canals Don’t Deserve the Bad Rep

May 7, 2018

Root canal awareness weekWhat do Xiaopingping the giant panda, Kwame the lion, and Lil Wayne the rapper have in common? They’ve all had root canals!

It’s Root Canal Awareness Week, and we’re doing damage control. Many patients are terrified of this procedure, but the truth is root canals alleviate pain. They don’t cause it!

Are Root Canals Really That Bad?

Root canals are successful in 95% of cases, making them very low risk.

Despite this, they have long been the butt of jokes in pop culture. In Finding Nemo, Nemo and friends discuss the procedure in the fish tank, and “I’d rather have a root canal than rewatch this movie” is the title of a film critic’s review in the New York Post.

The review is on the 1980 film Heaven’s Gate. We haven’t seen the movie, but we’re guessing it isn’t so bad, is over before you know it, and takes away the pain in your mouth (just not as well as a root canal does)!

More than 15 million root canals are performed each year in the United States, says the American Association of Endodontists. After the procedure, patients are usually pleasantly surprised when instead of writhing with pain, they feel good because their toothache is gone. Most often, a root canal is able to save a natural tooth that would likely have been lost otherwise. The procedure significantly reduces inflammation around the tooth.

Do You Need a Root Canal?


If pandas can get root canals, so can you!

The purpose of a root canal is to take away infected tissue from the inner layers of your tooth. Signs that you need one include:

  • Tenderness in the gums surrounding a tooth
  • Severe pain when pressure is placed on a tooth, such as while eating
  • Discoloration of the tooth
  • A small bump on your gums near the tooth that hurts

Visit our root canal page for more information. If you think you may need a root canal, contact your dentist to know for sure.