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To Fear or Not to Fear: Root Canal Risks and Realities


If you are afraid to go to your dentist for a root canal procedure, you are not alone. A recent study revealed that 59 percent of people are more scared of root canals than public speaking, spiders, and closed spaces. In fact, 57 percent of people would happily spend an hour in a room with ten spiders than get a root canal.

What are root canals, and why are people so afraid of them? Let us explore these questions, shall we?

Root Canals

Root canals are dental procedures that seek to save distressed or heavily damaged teeth. Some of the most common conditions requiring root canals include deep dental decay, tooth abscess reaching the dental pulp, and dental fracture.

To salvage the teeth, dental care professionals will carefully remove only the damaged tissue from your teeth while keeping the rest of the teeth intact. After this, they will disinfect and fill the tooth.

Cause of People’s Fear

Odontophobia or dentophobia is a WHO-recognized disease affecting 15 to 20 percent of people. It is a fear preventing people from seeking dental assistance and not only root canals. Two things perpetuate being afraid of root canals: lack of information and misinformation.

Lack of Information

People fear what they do not know. Dental extractions are standard procedures because they need to get their baby teeth out to make way for their permanent teeth. Root canals are unfamiliar procedures that only one in four people have ever experienced.


Most people will be more familiar with root canal myths than the actual procedure. This is because these misconceptions have been told repeatedly in pop culture. Often, the depiction is a person in extreme pain before, during, and after the procedure. This creates the image that root canals do not save teeth but only bring a lot of pain.

Root Canal Reality

Root canals work to save your teeth and not bring you pain for the giggles. Dentists are willing to spend hours cleaning and reconstructing your infected teeth.

There is discomfort before the procedure because your teeth are severely damaged. However, you may not feel the pain during the treatment because of the anesthetic or sedative administered. Meanwhile, you may feel discomfort after the procedure because your body is naturally healing.

Benefits of a Root Canal

Root canal treatments can prolong the function of your teeth, especially if the only other alternative is removing them completely. Extracting your damaged tooth may be a quicker and simpler solution to your dental issue. However, losing a tooth will make your remaining teeth work harder, resulting in dental damage from biting and chewing too hard.

At the end of the day, a root canal is a better option. It will preserve the damaged tooth and allow it to function normally, preventing further dental damage.


As cliché as it may sound, prevention is better than cure when it comes to dental care. Practicing proper oral hygiene, not using your teeth as tools, eating a balanced diet, and using dental protection devices can save you from the pain and stress of tooth decay, abscess, and fracture.

However, if you need a root canal, go and get it. If you are scared or hesitant, speak with your dentist. They can explain what will happen, and you can work on a treatment plan that will make you more comfortable and less anxious.

If you are looking for a Raleigh dentist near you to treat your infected tooth, then Dr. Thomas E. Cooke Family Dentistry is at your service. We provide top-notch and patient-focused dental services, including dental emergencies, root canals, checkups, cleaning, extensive restoration, and more. Book your appointment today!