Dental Myths and Facts

  1. MythBaby teeth do not need to be filled, because they will come out in a few years anyway.
    FactBaby teeth are very important. They hold the space for the permanent teeth and allow the child’s face and jaws to grow properly. Healthy teeth and gums cannot be attributed to luck. They require a proper daily oral hygiene program.
  2. MythRemoval of upper teeth affects vision.
    FactThere is a myth among many people that removal of the upper teeth affects vision. This is a misconception. Vision is not affected in any way by undertaking treatment of the upper teeth including its extraction.
  3. MythAn artificial set of teeth or complete denture that is made once is forever.
    FactWhile it is true that well fitting dentures are used by the patient for many years, it is a myth that it can be retained forever. The oral tissues that lie below the dentures change over a period of time. But the dentures are made of stiff materials that do not adapt according to the changing contours of the oral tissues. Thus even a well fitting denture may not fit well after a few years. If an ill-fitting denture is continued to be worn, it can cause damage to the underlying tissues. Thus most dentists advice changing of the dentures once in at least 5 years.
  4. MythOnce a decayed tooth is treated the dental problem is over.
    FactDental decay is treated by use of various restorative materials. However the artificial material usually will not completely match the tooth in strength, color, smoothness and other qualities. In addition if the patient does not maintain good hygiene, decay can start again around restorations. Hence, whenever a tooth is filled or replaced it requires use of additional cleaning methods like flossing, inter-dental brushes, etc, in addition to regular tooth brushing. In addition dental check up once a year becomes all the more important when you have a treated tooth.
  5. MythProfessional cleaning/scaling/removal of tartar loosens the teeth.
    FactTeeth are held firmly by the supporting tissues of the periodontium including bone. Bad oral hygiene results in the deposition of tartar /calculus on the tooth surface. These deposits irritate the gums and can cause inflammation and bleeding of the gums. If the tartar is not removed, the gums may recede and the supporting bone around the teeth gets destroyed. The tartar on the teeth thus causes great harm to the supporting tissues of the teeth. However, patients may experience slight mobility of the teeth after tartar is removed as it kind of binds the teeth together. Professional cleaning removes this tartar and arrests further destruction of supporting bone. Removal of tartar deposits only helps to recover the health of supporting structures. This chain of events does not take place in people who have dental checkup regularly.
  6. MythDental procedures are always painful.
    FactMost dental procedures are carried out under local anesthesia, which makes the procedures totally painless. In addition the modern day high-speed drills cause less vibrations and are more comfortable for the patients.
  7. MythDental treatment should be avoided during pregnancy.
    FactThe above notion is not true. Many a times dental treatment is provided even during late pregnancy. Routine dental procedures can be carried out without any fear. However, major surgical procedure may require medical opinion before treatment. Dental X-rays are to be avoided during the first three months of pregnancy.
  8. MythCleaning the teeth with finger & powder is better than with toothbrush.
    FactThe use of a tooth brush with bristles to clean plaque and food particles from almost all the surfaces of the teeth. The finger may not reach all the areas as well as a brush does. Hence, it is recommended to use a toothbrush with paste to clean the teeth and freshen the mouth. Finger can only be used to massage the gums after brushing is complete.
  9. MythCharcoal, salt, rice husk, tobacco, etc, in powder form is better than toothpaste in cleaning teeth.
    FactThe objective of cleaning the teeth is to remove the plaque and food particles on and around the teeth by the bristles of a toothbrush with the help of a toothpaste or powder. A standard paste or powder contains proper sized particles, which are not harmful to the teeth. However, other powders are coarse and can erode the outer layer of the teeth and permanently damage them. Hence, only standard toothpaste or powder should be used with a toothbrush. Toothpaste is better than powder as it can easily be dispensed on the brush and it may contain fluorides, anti-tartar chemicals, etc. The foaming action of the toothpaste also helps to freshen the mouth. Tobacco should not be used. Users enjoy the euphoric effect of nicotine present in tobacco rather than cleaning of the teeth and slowly become addicted to it. Hence, it should never be used.
  10. MythThumb sucking by children leads to forward placement of upper teeth.
    FactThumb sucking is a normal infant habit, which makes the child feel secure and happy. It usually decreases after the age of 3 years. However, if the habit persists beyond the age of 4-5 years it can cause problems of the teeth including forward placement of the teeth. In these children, depending upon the frequency and severity of the habit an intervention of the habit by a dental surgeon may be required.
  11. MythA child never needs cleaning of milk teeth.
    FactIt is a myth that we need not clean a child’s teeth. Children are as much prone for dental decay or gum diseases as adults. In fact children tend to have sweet food including sweetened milk and juices which can promote dental caries. So it is advisable to start the habit of cleaning the infant’s teeth soon after they appear in the mouth. In fact it is advised to clean baby’s gum pads everyday by gentle massage even before the teeth erupt.
  12. MythMilk teeth need not be cared for because they last only for a few years, and these teeth will anyway be replaced by permanent teeth.
    Fact – Early loss of milk teeth will interfere with chewing and affect the child’s nutrition. Early loss of milk teeth leads to drifting of the adjacent teeth and closure of some of the space that is required for the succeeding permanent teeth to erupt into. Such a loss of space will cause the permanent teeth to erupt in irregular position and result in crowding. Therefore milk teeth need to be cared for as much as permanent teeth.
  13. MythWhen the gums bleed, it is better not to brush the teeth.
    Fact -Bleeding of gums is a sign that they are inflamed and are not healthy. This usually is a result of plaque and food particles accumulating around the teeth. Until this collection is removed, the gums continue to bleed. This is an indication that the individual needs to visit a dentist for opinion and treatment. Brushing the teeth with a soft toothbrush by the proper technique removes the plaque and helps the gums recover. Initial bleeding seen during brushing gradually reduces over a period of time.
  14. MythKeeping an aspirin tablet beside a painful tooth reduces the tooth pain.
    FactA toothache cannot be relieved by placing an aspirin tablet anywhere in the mouth. In fact this is a dangerous habit as it causes burns of the soft tissues around the area of placement. Hence, aspirin tablets should not be placed in mouth but swallowed after eating some food to relieve the pain.
  15. MythWhen an artificial set of teeth are worn, the upper denture logically has to fall down in the mouth and create problems, however the lower denture that should rest in place does not stay.
    FactAlthough the lower denture rests on the ridges of jaw, it does get easily dislodged because of the interference of the muscles of check, lips tongue and movement of the jaw during function. However, with time the muscles learn to co-ordinate with the lower denture and the patient overcomes this problem. The upper denture, on the other hand stays in its place due to creation of suction under the palate.
  16. MythA root canal procedure is a painful procedure ?

    FactWhen somebody says root canal, nervousness on a person’s face is quite evident, as most people think rct is a very painful treatment. But with the advancement of dentistry, things have considerably changed.
    I am writing this article in order to make things clear about any myths surrounding root canal treatments and help people know the exact facts and what to expect and demand if they ever need one.
    One thing we all must know that root canals are performed to relieve pain caused by caries or dental infection. And with modern anesthesia, this procedure is no more painful than doing a filling.
    In case of severe infections dentist may have to prescribe antibiotics prior to root canal therapy. Without a proper magnification visibility is compromised and it can be difficult for the dentist to locate and prepare all the root canals properly. So as a patient all must demand a root canal procedure under the dental microscope.

  17. MythA root canal is a costly treatment ?

    FactAlthough it’s a costly procedure if done properly with modern techniques. But it’s less expensive than extracting a tooth and then replacing it with a bridge or a dental implant. Above all it does save a tooth which can be used to maintain normal chewing functions.. And no money can get us a lost natural tooth.(kotiye dele v gotiye milibani).
    Costs may vary on how many canals a tooth has, whether it’s a vital tooth or non vital infected tooth, heather it’s a case of re root canal, and if the patent opts for single use files, if done under a microscope, single sitting or multi sitting, manual or advanced rotary or with SAF endodontic system, if IN A PEDIATRIC teeth done, if MTA is induced in for root apex formation, and if surgical enodontics is performed, if revascularization is performed etc. Many factors affect the final cost.

  18. MythA root canal removes pain immediately ?

    FactAfter a root canal, the patient will feel significant improvement. Mild pain still be followed, especially while chewing for few days which should disappear subsequently.

  19. MythIs it possible not to feel any pain at all after a root canal procedure ?

    FactYes it’s possible, and this depends on how complicated was the treatment and on whether or not the tooth was infected before treatment.

  20. MythRoot canals do not work ?

    FactAlthough nothing can replace your tooth completely, a root canal if done well has a very high success rate. Treatments can last a lifetime. if a tooth becomes infected after some years after root canal has been done, it can be re treated . However in certain situations, such as tooth fracture, root decay that is too deep, or severe bone loss around the tooth, extraction may be required.

  21. MythIt is normal that a tooth remains a little sensitive after a root canal ?

    FactIt is not normal to experience pain that could last a few months after RCT is completed. Possible reasons could be 1) the operator missed some canal 2) the tooth itself being broken all the way to root.

  22. MythA root canal kills the tooth.

    FactA root canal cleans and disinfects the inside of the tooth to allow it to heal it does not kill a tooth.
    Later in life, the neve’s function is to cause pain when something is wrong with the tooth, whether it’s decay, infection, inflammation or trauma. Pain is therefore a defense mechanism that alarms a person to seek help.

  23. MythIt is necessary to take powerful painkillers and antibiotics after a root canal ?

    FactUsually one doesn’t need any medicines unless there is substantial inflammation and infection is present. In most cases we may need to consume mild painkillers for a day or two post rct. And only in severe cases patient is prescribed with antibiotics and painkillers both.

  24. MythTeeth undergoing root canal treatment often need a crown.

    FactUsually teeth that need root canal treatment have big cavities or big fillings. A tooth with a big filling is more at risk to be fractured. For this reason, your dentist may recommend the placement of a post and a crown after the root canal procedure.
    Some dentists place a post and a filing on a tooth right after the root canal has been done. Altough the post gives more strength to the tooth than placing just a filling alone, a crown is still recommended to make the tooth stronger.

  25. MythRoot canal treatment is a lengthy process that requires several appointments.

    FactToday , root canal treatment may take between one and two hours if there are no complications. The number of appointments often depends on the condition of the tooth and the number of and shape of canals it has.
    In severely infected cases, your dentist may place a drug inside to help disinfect the interior of the roots, and then finish the root canal treatment. a few days later, but if there is no infection or no complications, the procedure can be completed in one single appointment.

  26. MythA tooth with a root canal treatment that has failed should always be extracted ?

    FactThe success rate is almost 90% if done properly, and even if pain recurs after few years, the tooth can be often retreated in which the old root canal fillings are removed and the canals are re irrigated with disinfectants and refilled again. Some teeth may require an apicoectomy surgery instead, which is a microsurgery used to remove the tip of the root.

  27. MythRole of a dental microscope in root canal treatment.

    FactMagnification is the key in any dental treatment. As better visibility helps in achieving a more accurate and predictable treatment output, in root canal treatment a microscope helps in locating extra root canals which otherwise could be missed .