7 Common Dental Procedure Myths

young girl putting toothpaste on her toothbrush

Whether you need braces, implants, veneers, a root canal, or a simple filling, people believe all kinds of horrible and scary myths about dental procedures. At Palola Dental, we want to disprove all those myths. Dr. Jaclyn M. Palola and her team have compiled a few of the most common myths they hear frequently, and Dr. Palola is offering you a dose of reality with each!

MYTH #1: Getting Fillings Is Painful.

This is by FAR the most common dental procedure myth that must have been started sometime when your mother or grandmother went to the dentist with a serious issue and had a negative experience. And it has been perpetuated by television and other media outlets. We hear from folks who are super hesitant to come in that they fear having a long, painful procedure when they need to have a filling or even a cleaning!

  • Dr. Palola’s Reality Check: Visiting our Waipahu office to fill a cavity today is pain-free, convenient and usually can be completed in a single visit. With our modern-day numbing agents, I can make sure that your tooth and the gum tissue around it are fully numbed before filling your cavity. All the while, we’ll make sure you are aware of every step in the process. Or, you can take your mind off the whole procedure by tuning in to our flat screen TVs available in every dental room!

MYTH #2: Once Whitened, Teeth Will Stay White Forever

Patients come to us with discolored teeth for a number of reasons. They may have worn their enamel layer allowing the yellowish dentin layer to show through. They may be taking medication that affects the color of their teeth. They may consume foods and drinks that stain their teeth. And, they may just be getting older, and their teeth are aging, and yellowing with them. Many of our patients think that paying for professional teeth whitening procedures will change the color of their teeth forever.

  • Dr. Palola’s Reality Check: It would be great if this were true, but unfortunately, whether you use an over-the-counter whitening treatment such as Crest White Strips, or you have our office professionally whiten your teeth, the yellow shade will likely return. It may not be as pronounced as before, but chances are you will still be consuming the same wine, tea, coffee, or cigarettes that you have been. [Note: Think about drinking the primary staining offenders through a straw to avoid contact with your front teeth!] I recommend that you return to our Waipahu office every few months for a quick re-whitening treatment to keep your teeth bright white and looking beautiful.

MYTH #3: Having A Root Canal Is Lengthy And Painful

Here’s a double-myth wrapped up in one. When I mention that a patient needs a root canal, I’m often met with cringes and immediate anxiety. They think about a long and painful procedure that may require several long visits in my dentist’s chair.

  • Dr. Palola’s Reality Check: The root canal procedure itself is not painful at all. The reputation they have garnered likely came from decades ago when they were quite painful. Performing a root canal is actually done to relieve the pain of an untreated cavity infecting the pulp of your tooth. Once the anesthesia is in place, you should be pain-free throughout the 30 to 90-minute procedure. After the anesthesia wears off, you may want to take an over-the-counter or prescription pain reliever for the next 48 hours to give the tissue a chance to heal. I rarely need to see a patient for a second visit, unless I think it’s necessary to check on the tooth to make sure it’s healing properly.

MYTH #4: If I Get Dentures, I Won’t Be Able To Eat Or Speak Normally

Our patients who are experiencing the thought of getting dentures for the first time are sometimes nervous about how others will perceive them with their new teeth – especially if they can’t talk or eat normally.

Dr. Palola’s Reality Check: Trust me, there are plenty of dental appliances that can, at the least, be an annoyance. But, fortunately, dentures isn’t one of them! When we mold dentures for you, we make sure they are designed to fit snugly into your oral cavity to mimic teeth without being uncomfortable. While they will, of course, feel different than your real teeth, worn correctly, your dentures should feel secure and allow you to speak and eat like you always have. If you have any trouble with your dentures, be sure to call my office and let us check them out and see what we can do to help!

MYTH #5: If I Brush Twice A Day, I Can Skip Regular Dentist Check-Ups

It’s true, brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day are two basic oral hygiene tasks that are of most importance in keeping cavities and gum disease at bay. Many of our patients think they can skip a trip to our beautiful Waipahu dentist office if they are good teeth caretakers.

  • Dr. Palola’s Reality Check: Even with great home care, there can still be hard-to-reach places that you miss when you brush and floss. Those sneaky spots can develop infection and tooth decay that can be detected with X-rays and regular check-ups. With regular cleanings, our dental hygienist can help keep plaque from forming. I can also check for several oral diseases and give you suggestions for treatment when needed. Plus, I would miss seeing each of you if you didn’t visit for your regular check-ups!

MYTH #6: I Would Be Better Off Pulling My Tooth Instead Of Getting A Root Canal

Patients are telling me all the time that it would be better, less painful, less expensive, to pull their bad tooth rather than having a root canal.

Dr. Palola’s Reality Check: I, like most dentists, will only pull your tooth if it’s absolutely necessary. It’s important to understand that a root canal only removes the part of the tooth (the pulp inside) that is infected and leaves the structure of the tooth in place. It’s always better to save your natural tooth for several reasons. First, the tooth serves as a placeholder for the rest of the teeth in your mouth. Removing a tooth can cause your other teeth to shift, become crooked and possibly affect your eating and speaking. Second, you want to preserve your smile if at all possible. A missing tooth can detract from your appearance unless you get (and pay for) a dental implant to replace it.

Myth #7: My Dental Implant Won’t Look Like My Tooth

One of the biggest reasons our Waipahu patients choose to have a dental implant is to recreate their original great smile. So, it’s normal to be worried that the new tooth won’t match the rest of your teeth and people will notice it as “fake.” Our dental implants use a titanium post to replace your root, and a porcelain crown to restore your tooth. Besides restoring your smile, dental implants maintain the gap between teeth, keeping other teeth from shifting, and they allow you to eat and speak as if your real tooth was still there.

  • Dr. Palola’s Reality Check: One of the greatest benefits of a dental implant is how closely it mimics your natural tooth. This allows your implant to act just like a natural tooth, so you’ll enjoy all the function of chewing, talking, and smiling that you once had. At Palola Dental, we custom design your crown to match your existing teeth and naturally complement your smile, so no one will ever know you were missing a tooth.

Let Palola Dental Debunk All Your Dental Procedure Myths!

When you need to find an experienced, skilled dentist with a team of friendly, caring professionals, call Dr. Palola at her Waipahu location. She will explain all aspects of any dental procedure that she recommends and answer any questions or concerns you may have. You can schedule your first appointment by phone at (808) 678-3000 or online. We welcome you to our dental family and hope to care for you soon!